Weekly Scripture: Luke 1:5-16
God’s acts of grace and generosity can sometimes be surprising. Perhaps we have experienced so many difficulties and struggles that we have forgotten to expect goodness in our lives. The experience of childlessness for Zechariah and Elizabeth was undoubtedly filled with disappointment and sorrow. Perhaps they had given up all hope of ever having a child. And yet God had a good surprise in store for them and used an unexpected way to reveal this astounding revelation to them. When have you been surprised by God and God’s actions of mercy and grace?
God’s visit to Zechariah through the angel in the sanctuary of the Temple was not random, even though it was surprising. Luke tells us that Zechariah and Elizabeth “were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord.” In other words, they had made themselves available to God through their devotion to God. Those who live in such a way open themselves up to experiences of God’s deep mysteries. And any of us can open ourselves to God in such ways of devotion. Zechariah and Elizabeth needed the same grace of forgiveness and daily strength that we all need. They were righteous and blameless because they came to God in an attitude of humility and trust, not because they were perfect and uniquely gifted. God simply desires our availability and our receptivity. How might you make yourself available to God today, in order to receive God’s presence and grace?
God invited Zechariah and Elizabeth into something bigger than themselves. Their son, John, would personally prepare the way for Jesus by opening people’s perspectives and hearts with his ministry of preaching and baptism. The work and words of John would whet the appetite of those who would later experience the work and words of our Lord. How might your life – the work and words that you offer to the world in love – prepare someone to experience deeper intimacy with God? Your care and compassion might open someone up to receive the good surprises of God’s grace.
Breath Prayer: LORD God, prepare us for your blessings.