Tuesday 19 December 2017
Advent Season of Creation.
Judges 13:2-7, 24-25. Psalm 70(71):3-6, 16-17. Luke 1:5-25.
Fill me with your praise and I will sing your glory—Psalm 70(71):3-6, 16-17. Luke 1:5-25.
‘He will be great in the sight of the Lord.’
The announcement of the Birth of John runs in parallel to tomorrows Gospel, ‘The Annunciation of Jesus’. At the core of the passage is the angel’s appearance to Zechariah and is similar in structure of the angel’s appearance to Mary. Following the appearance of the angel, both Zechariah and Mary are ‘disturbed’. They are reassured by the angel with the words ‘do not be afraid’ and in both stories, they are promised a son that have a role in God’s saving action in the world. The stories are steeped in allusions to the Old Testament. In the Jewish Scripture when a person receives a divine call or commissioning the pattern of introduction, confrontation, reaction (often expressing fear or unworthiness) the commission, the protest (often the commission seems impossible) and reassurance. Readers of Luke’s Gospel would have been familiar with this pattern which reinforced their Jewish heritage.
It seems to me this pattern of commissioning still continues today. What is it to experience and feel a call? Often this is expressed in a deep sense of vocation to my sense of purpose in life. If I listen deeply I may feel a deep ‘knowing’ that I am being invited by God to follow my dream to be a teacher, a health professional, to work in hospitality, or research. I might even meet people along the way who seem to ‘see’ the giftedness in me and call forth this vocation. How do I respond? When my heart is invested in something so deeply I can feel vulnerable or even unworthy. Zachariah listens but the angel says he did not believe his words. Zachariah became mute, unable to speak. Perhaps this feeling of being voiceless is something that resonates with all of us when we don’t say yes to the invitation of God. The message throughout the Gospel of Luke is that when God speaks – we listen! Can I take the time to really listen? To listen with all my senses. God speaks in so many creative ways.
Today God speaks with urgency to us in creation. Today I listened to the news that North Korea has mastered the technology to build a Hydrogen bomb that is exponentially more powerful than an atomic bomb such as the one that was dropped on Hiroshima 72 years ago. But can I listen to my God, the Creator of the whole cosmos here? My God of hope that offers a peace beyond all imagination? If I can hear God’s voice, can I respond? Or does it seem so overwhelmingly impossible that I might be called to co create with God that I choose not to believe and remain mute?