TEXT: Luke 1: 68-79
Move 1: Introduction
The readings for today come to us from the prophet Malachi, the Gospel of Luke, and Paul’s letter to the Philippians. But the focus scripture is Luke 1: 68-79. Listen with me for the Word of God:
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:68-79, NRSV)
Prayer for Enlightenment
Move 2: What Will He/She Be Like?
Part of getting ready for a new family member is wondering. Today, when people are expecting a child, many times they know the sex of the baby. That takes away some of the wondering. But someone is going to have a baby, when a family is preparing to adopt a child, we wonder what they will be like. What will they do? Will they be athletic, will they love music and art, will they like to read or draw or will they be quiet and thoughtful. How will they get along with others? Will they like to go to school. What hopes and dreams will they have? We wonder.
Move 3: What Will the Messiah be Like?
Long ago, people wondered what God’s chosen one would be like. In the next weeks we will read what John the Baptizer and Jesus’ mother, Mary, said they thought Jesus would be like and what Jesus would do. But today we hear someone else’s words.
Move 4: Zechariah’s Song
An elderly couple named Elizabeth and Zechariah discovered they would have a child (John the Baptizer), and Zechariah sang a special song to the baby. Perhaps it was a lullaby, but certainly it was a song about how this child grow up and what he would become. Zechariah first praised God for this child: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel.” John would become a prophet to tell people about God’s love and forgiveness, and tell them God had heard their cry, and was sending a Savior., “you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins.
Move 5: We Become the Prophet
But in the days of Advent, and throughout the year, we become the prophet. We have been called to take the place of John the Baptizer. It is our work in Advent to remind ourselves and to tell the world, “By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”