This week's text is Luke 1:68-79.
It's hard to talk about peace this week when three gunmen opened fire in a center that helps people with developmental disabilities killing 14 and injuring several more. It's hard to quote that God "has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered God's holy covenant, the oath that God swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear."
It's hard on a day like today, a day where there has been more shootings in our country than there have been days in this year, to stand on this assertion that God has remembered a covenant to our ancestors in faith by granting that we be rescued from our enemies. It may be hard to know exactly who our enemies are but it's clear we are not without enemy, right? I mean... right? Do we think of people as enemies or are ideals, principles, systems our enemies? I'm not sure on a day like today.
It's hard on this Wednesday, day 4 of Advent to imagine serving God without fear when fear has been the driving force between any news story for several weeks. And not unreasonable fear - the world has become so unsafe. From our neighbors near and far - I say near and far because let's be honest we don't really know our near neighbors and we think we know our far neighbors. Serve God without fear?
What was Zechariah thinking saying something like this in response to the birth of his son, John? Was it that elated joy that new father's experience when they see a gooey little person enter the world and they realize the weight of responsibility that they never thought possible while at the same time feeling more joy and love than they ever thought possible? Maybe that's what was happening - maybe Zechariah was a typical father, having experienced a miracle and he extrapolated the faithfulness of God in this miraculous act of childbirth.
Furthermore, Zechariah (and every parent I know) looks at their sleeping newborn who still looks a little alien but somehow has their nose and their partner's mouth. Parents look on their children and can either give into tremendous fear of having to raise their children amidst the many enemies, known and unknown or they dig deep and find their footing with trust in God and God's promises.
Yep, that's what I hear - Zechariah with tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat working out fear of a world that is unknown and unsafe. Zechariah and Elizabeth just brought a new baby into the world - and they were people of faith. People of deep faith, deep faith given to them generation after generation. God was faithful. God will be faithful. And you, they say to John, "you will be a witness to this faithfulness." You just wait and see.
Dear God of Zechariah and Elizabeth, I don't know if I have their kind of faith in my world of enemies today. But I'm so deeply grateful for their story. Help me to witness to this tender mercy of yours. When the sun comes up, remind me that you bring light to darkness every day. Guide my feet into the way of peace. Amen.
Search this blog for a specific text or story:
I am grateful for