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Vision

Luke 1:21-25 Zechariah returns to Elizabeth

Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. When his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, “This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.”


Silhouette of a man praying @ Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

Zechariah’s life was transformed by the experience he had in the sanctuary. Not just a vision of the angel Gabriel (who at this point was probably more real to Zechariah than the people outside), but a vision of his own future, raising a son with a holy purpose, seeing God at work in the world. We too can be transformed by the same vision – of God fully present in the world, working through people inspired by a holy purpose, and of a saviour living and dying to redeem us all. We are called then to look at the world and try to see it as God does; to find His love and purpose in each day and to let that shape our choices and priorities.


Boundless God, help us to see the world as You do, and to see You in the world; in the smile of a stranger, the peace of a sleeping child, the release of unsuppressed laughter. Remind us of our holy purpose: to turn the hearts of those around us to be closer to each other and nearer to You. Amen.

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2018.

Presence

Luke 1:18-20 – Zechariah doubts Gabriel

Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.”


Silhouette of a man praying @ Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

Any time we find ourselves wishing that God would be a bit clearer in our lives, we might pause and remember Zechariah and his meeting with Gabriel. Gabriel’s authoritative rebuke to Zechariah – “I stand in the presence of God” – is powerful, majestic and unequivocally daunting, and the consequences for Zechariah are nine months of silence. But Zechariah’s experience also points the way to bring us closer to God. We can attune ourselves to God’s presence in our lives through worship and prayer, with plenty of silence for us to listen to God, rather than speak. And we can open ourselves to the possibility of God appearing to us in surprising and unexpected ways.


Majestic God, draw us closer to You in this Advent season, and help us behold Your presence in our lives and Your purpose for us right now. Slow our steps and give us pause to recognize You in surprising and unexpected places. Kindle in us recognition of Your eternal love. Amen.

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2018.