Friday, December 7, 2012

Singing with Zechariah

Advent 2 includes the Song of Zechariah in the lectionary.   This is one of my favorite stories during Advent.  

Think about it, you have this couple who are just a wee bit past their prime.  A messenger from God comes to tell the husband his wife will bear a son.  When told Elizabeth will bear a son who will be a messenger of God, Zechariah does not believe him.  Because he does not believe Zechariah is struck mute.  I find myself doing that all too often.  Not the mute part, but the whole not believing God's messenger.  

In the midst of life unfolding it is so easy to get focused on what I see rather than what I know to be true.  To become stuck on my feeble expectations rather than the promises of God.  To lose sight of those places Jesus is breaking into my presence.

It often takes a spiritual 2x4 up side the head to get my attention.  I want so badly to trust without needing that, but I'm not there yet.  I, like Zechariah, don't believe.  There are moments I wish God would strike me mute.  If so, I wouldn't have to confess as often the times I don't believe.

What I love most about this story is that upon the birth of John the first thing his daddy Zechariah does is to praise God.  Once he is able to speak, Zechariah tells all who will listen about the goodness of God.  He has gone from unbelief to praise.  

I pray that in this season we are able to praise God as he breaks into our lives, even if it is with silence.

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favourably on his people and redeemed them. 

 He has raised up a mighty saviour for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. 

 Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,

   and has remembered his holy covenant,  the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;

   for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 
 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
   by the forgiveness of their sins. 

 By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,  to guide our feet into the way of peace.’  (Luke 1.68-79)

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