ISSL Reflections December 11 2022 Luke 1:57–66, 76–79 Post 1

Last week we spent time with the silent Zechariah. This week we turn to Elizabeth, listen to her and her neighbors and relatives and hear from an unsilenced Zechariah.

As we spent time with this passage, let’s make sure we give notice to Elizabeth and pay attention to her interactions with her neighbors and relatives.

Luke 1:57-66 (NRSVue)

Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.

On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.” They said to her, “None of your relatives has this name.” Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbors, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, “What then will this child become?” For indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.

Luke 1:76-79 (NRSVue)

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 his people knowledge of salvation
     by the forgiveness of their sins.
Because of the tender mercy of our God,
     the dawn from on high will break[a] upon[b] us,
to shine upon those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
     to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

We find Elizabeth with her 8 day old son who is about to be circumcised and named. A very important moment in the life of this family and I suspect this community of neighbors and relatives.

… they were going to name him Zechariah …

It strikes me as a big overreach that the assembled folk take it upon themselves to name the child, apparently without consulting Elizabeth or Zechariah. Elizabeth raises her voice to stop this and tells them the child is to be named John.

The crowd finds this too unconventional, ignores Elizabeth and begins to talk at the speechless Zechariah.

Even if he does not have an audible voice, Zechariah asks for and receives a table on which he writes the child’s name, John.

To the amazement of all, Zechariah not only finds his voice once again, but praises God and begins to answer the crowds question, “What then will this child become?

Why does the crowd ignore Elizabeth? Why is her voice not honored?

Can you recall a time when people looked past you and to others when you wanted to be heard. Or to turn the question around, can you recall a time you have ignored someone who was attempting to make a contribution to a discussion or deliberation?

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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