But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” -Luke 1:13-17
From Finding Home: The Hospitality of God, Graceland University Press, 2006, pp. 38-39
Are you able to visualize biblical characters as real persons? Can you imagine the feelings of Zechariah that day in the temple serving God and the people? He and his wife Elizabeth had remained faithful to God in spite of their barrenness. Could there have been some conflicting emotions in his soul before the sudden appearance of the angel? He had been disappointed so many times in their inability to have a child. No wonder he was a little suspicious when he heard the promise of the angel. But as events unfolded, the depth of his faith came to the fore and he prophesied further about the two, John and Jesus, who were about to be born. It was a song of joy and promise, known to us as the Benedictus. The Christian life has valleys and mountains, but the challenge is to be faithful in the midst of them.
Blessed be the God of Israel who comes to set us free,
who visits and redeems us, who grants us liberty.
The prophets spoke of mercy, of freedom and release;
God shall fulfill that promise and bring the people peace.
God from the house of David a child of grace has given;
a Savior comes among us to raise us up to heaven.
Before him goes the herald, forerunner in the way,
the prophet of salvation, the harbinger of day. -Michael Perry, \xc2\xa91973 The Jubilate Group (admin. Hope Publishing Company), CCS 396
“Trust what is being born” (Stephen M. Veazey, Words of Counsel, 2019).
Deepen your breathing as you enter a few moments of silent presence to God. Pay attention first to your own life as you gently ask and notice, “What is most alive in me right now? What is being born in me?” After a few moments of silent listening, ask these questions of your community, the church, and the world. Notice how the Spirit is revealing new life and possibility as you prayerfully ask these questions over time.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.