Rev. Steven Blair is the Congregational Care pastor of Live Forward and Live Well Emotional Wellness Ministry. www.cor.org/liveforward
Zechariah sang praise (like the Whos)WEDNESDAY 12.11.13 Luke 1:57-75
Have you ever fasted from speaking? A few years ago I took a retreat to Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas. (www.mountosb.org) I spent a couple of days with the nuns, eating with them in the cafeteria and praying with them in chapel. I also happened to be there on Ash Wednesday which they commemorate by being silent. I spent 24 hours without saying or listening to a single word. When the fast ended and the next day began, I was able to speak. But any ol’ word would not do. My next words had a unique level of depth, reverence, and importance to them.
Zechariah was silent for 9 months. From the moment an angel told him he would be a dad until eight days after his son’s birth he could not speak. Right after scribbling his son’s name on a tablet “His name is John,” Zechariah’s voice was unleashed. What did he speak with a unique level of depth, reverence, and importance?
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them
In other words: God is Blessed/Great
God loves us.
I imagine that Zechariah wanted everyone in that room to hear his message. I imagine that he would want us to hear that message too.
This Christmas, consider Zechariah’s simple message and the joyful way he must have told it.
Two ways of deepening your understanding of this Scripture:
1) Spend one hour this week in pure silence only reading Luke 1:57-75. Let it sink in.
2) Spend an evening, half day or whole day being completely silent. Feel the restraint Zechariah must have felt and then break your fast of speaking by saying Luke 1:68-79.
I believe both would be a very powerful experience for you and help prepare your heart for Christmas.
Grace and Peace,
(If this Christmas looks like it will be a Blue Christmas this year, I invite you to join me at Live Forward for the next two Thursdays. Free Dinner at 5:30pm, Worship at 6:30pm looking at “Light, During a Blue Christmas,” and Small Groups at 7:30pm. www.cor.org/liveforward )