So it came to pass that the angel Gabriel came to faithful Zechariah, comforting him and telling him both to fear not and that his cry had been heard. As a priest I am sure Zechariah had cried out many times to God. Which cry?
Gabriel does not leave him guessing: Elizabeth, Zechariah’s old barren wife is going to get prego and give birth to a son who Zechariah is instructed to name John. Could Zechariah go back in his memory banks and pull up the remembrance of Abraham and Sarah? Maybe, but he also wanted proof. This did not come in the form of an ultrasound and evidently was not pleasing to God. Zechariah entered an enforced state of muteness for the entire pregnancy. Wow.
This allowed Zechariah time to remember and repent of his own doubt. Proof of his belief came at the baby naming ceremony. In obedience to Gabriel, they named him John – an unusual choice that caused quite the stir.
The floodgates opened and Zechariah began to speak. His focus? Not the miraculous pregnancy or amazing visit from Gabriel. Zechariah returned to the central truth: the salvation of the Lord.
In whatever speck of the historical timeline we land on – this is the thing. This God has come so that we might be saved for the purpose of blessing. We exist to love justice, do mercy and walk humbly. I hope we’ve been reminded this month of how easy it should be to do the humble walking part. My goodness, aren’t we humans a mess?!?
I pray that we find our humble, in spite of it being so hard to do so. We keep returning to the power play. God continues to remind us that this is not the game we were created to participate in. In humility, knowing our proclivities, we strive to love justice and do mercy. Remembering these two clarion calls, I think we can make progress against our own prejudices and tone-deaf ways.