Advent Meditation: Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Psalm 27  •  Malachi 2:10-3:1  •  Luke 1:5-17

I have never been visited by an angel; but Zechariah’s encounter with the angel Gabriel in the opening chapter of Luke’s Gospel has a rhythm to it that I find both relatable and instructive as a Christian living in the United States near the end of 2020. At the beginning of this brief excerpt from the narrative, Zechariah is a figure suspended in time: an old man with no heir and the priest of a people God would seem to have forgotten. It is not hard for me to imagine the deep weariness he might have felt or the effort it might have taken him to show up for his duties at the Temple yet again, despite God’s seeming absence from his story. Then suddenly, a new chapter is announced; and Zechariah is invited to re-imagine his bleak present as something other than a dead end. Any other year, I might be tempted to race ahead to what we all know comes next in the story. Zechariah’s incredulousness is such an obvious focal point for a meditation on faith. But this year I am grateful for the pause between heavenly visitation and human response. It allows me to see and appreciate the long obedience that precedes the advent of new life. The angel finds Zechariah at his post in the Temple, supported by the prayers of the faithful. This is how I want deliverance to surprise me.

God of deliverance, grant that your miraculous provision surprises us as we go about the work you have given us to do.

The Rev. Nandra PerryAssistant Director of the Iona Center
Seminary of the Southwest

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