ISSL Reflections December 11 2022 Luke 1:57–66, 76–79 Post 3

Our time with Elizabeth and Zechariah comes during our season of Advent. Which seems appropriate since one of the themes associated with Advent is the dawning of … of what, a new age, the Kingdom, the birth of Jesus and here the birth of John.

As you read this week’s Scripture passage consider how the words of Elizabeth and Zechariah speak to what is coming for them and for others.

Luke 1:57-79 (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.

Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
     for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us
     in the house of his child 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
     in his presence 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 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 upon us,
to shine upon those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
     to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

While Zechariah speaks much more than Elizabeth in this passage, it is clear that she has taken Gabriel’s words to her husband seriously and she will name the child as they have been directed. The naming of their son will come about with the proper name and in the right time.

Zechariah’s words suggest he has begun to understand that his son is to have a part, as many others have, in the coming of God’s kingdom. Many have waited for the dawning of God’s kingdom and now it is one step closer.

During this season of Advent, where are you seeing the Kingdom come nearer?

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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