May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be always acceptable in your
sight, Oh Lord our strength and our redeemer. Amen.
We heard the story of Ruth and Naomi:
Who journeyed together after experiencing tragedy:
Sticking by each other throughout their lives.
The invitation last week,
Was to go home,
And find something that you would take with you on a trip:
Or something that would guide you on your journey.
Does anybody have one that they’d like to share?
As we add to our Jesse tree:
Exploring some of the stories from Jesus’ lineage:
We take a big step:
Closer to the birth of Jesus.
We’re looking today at the story of Zechariah:
Found in the gospel of Luke.
READ THE STORY (Luke 1:57-80)
That story sounds sort of familiar doesn’t it?
There are a lot of similarities with the story of Abraham and Sarah.
Two couples: separated by many many years.
Unable to have children:
And who are older in age.
Both couples receive word that God will bless them with children:
And both couples are astounded by what seems to them to be an impossible thing,
Terribly difficult to understand or imagine.
Abraham and Sarah laughed.
Couldn’t believe what the angel of God was telling him.
He was struck with silence:
Unable to speak.
Zechariah would have been very little help with a baby on the way:
Since God had struck him silent after he questioned how God would give him and his wife,
Elizabeth a child.
God promised their child would become the powerful prophet John.
And Zechariah questioned how God might accomplish this promise,
And the angel Gabriel,
Took away his ability to speak until the baby was born.
As the angel’s promise swelled to fruition in Elizabeth’s belly,
She ahd Zechariah had to prepare the house for the baby.
Imagine planning anything so complicated over text messages:
Or waiting for your partner to write out every response to every question,
Because he or she couldn’t actually answer with spoken words.
If you were Elizabeth,
How long would you be patient?
At what point would youy give up and simply make every decision yourself?
It’s little wonder that Elizabeth sings for joy when her cousin Mary arrives!
Mary could talk to her!
Mary experiences a different side of Gods miracle.
She expects a miracle baby,
Just like Zechariah and Elizabeth,
But she doesn’t know about Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy yet.
Mary simply comes to Elizabeth because she trusts Elizabeth as her family.
Together they discover that they each carry a part of the same promise from God.
Mary and Elizabeth show us how relationships of trust can help us make sense of God’s work in
God’s promise gives Mary a new song,
While it stuns Zechariah into silence.
Zechariah would have learned from Mary and been inspiried by her,
Just like Elizabeth.
Even though he remains silent until his baby is born,
He finally speaks when he announces the baby’s name.
It’s John, in keeping with the angel’s command.
Zechariah’s friends and family do not understand why he chooses such a name.
But this time, even if others around him are questioning this child,
Zechariah is more than ready to speak.
The birth of this baby will be the largest chiange I Zechariah’s family’s life:
And the couple encounters that change while adapting to his silence.
Change piles atop change.
But the faily draws inspiration from Mary,
A younger relative who is also inspired by God’s miracle.
I invite you to go home and find something that you’re willing to speak up for.
Something that you can’t keep silent about:
Like Zechariah, proclaiming God’s blessings after his son is finally born:
And his voice is returned to him.
Maybe you’ll find a branch in nature:
Speaking up for the care of our creation.
Or maybe it’s a photo of someone you care about:
Somebody you’d speak up for, and fight for.
Enjoy the weekly sermons at anytime.