Blessed

From The Rector

This Sunday, you might notice something a bit different. Nearly every Sunday we pray together a psalm as part of our worship service. This Second Sunday of Advent, we will not be praying a psalm together, but reciting a passage from Luke's gospel (Lk. 1:68-79), often called the Benedictus, meaning "Blessed". This passage is made up of the words that an old priest, named Zechariah, proclaims at the naming ceremony for his newborn son. Zechariah has been unable to speak for months and as he finally fulfills the angel’s demands from earlier in the chapter, he bursts like a dam. The words of prophecy pour out. We should think that in the months when Zechariah couldn’t speak, he did a lot more thinking and listening than usual. And, in this moment, I imagine his words are not docile and pleasant, but the words of a man who is hollering forth these words of blessing and prophecy--something that you might see down in the backwoods of Appalachia.

I am taken by the image of Zechariah using his closed-mouthed-time to compose this prophetic poem on the arrival of his son. Then, when the spirit comes upon Zechariah, his tongue is loosened, and he is given voice to debut his new song for his son. For everyone wanted to call this new child, Zechariah, after his father, but the old man knew better. This young boy would speak a new word, call a new people into being around the person of Jesus, and make way for God's new creation--he needed his own name. So, he was named John, later known as John the Baptist. This Sunday, as we pray the Benedictus together, let us make space in our minds and hearts and lives to allow the promises of God to take hold and birth a new thing in us. And let us close our mouths and listen for how to name this new life born in us, a gift from God Almighty. For likely, the words we have, the familiar names of our life, will not be able to rightly describe the fullness, the new life God is giving us. 

Advent peace to you,

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