While They Were Tending: An Advent Reflection – Zacharias

Luke 1:13b “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.

Read Luke 1:5-25 “Luke 1 (ESV) – In the days of Herod,.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 12 Dec, 2021. https://www.blueletterbible.org/esv/luk/1/5-25/p1/s_974005.

Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the lord.

Zacharias
"Do not be afraid, Zacharias; your prayer has been heard..."

Zacharias means
'Yahweh remembers.'
Really?

Manhood stretched.
Quiver empty. Waiting
for an heir.

The fulfillment of purpose,
appointment of his division,
slow roll of lots.
 
Waiting...for
any of these
to find him.

Yahweh remembers.
"Do not be afraid,
 Zechariah."

Pinnacle priestly moment:
fingers tremble
light the incense

The light explodes—
into apparition?
But wait...

Do not be afraid, Zechariah
Your prayer has been heard, 
AND...
and...and...and...And.
Elizabeth...Son
John
Joy and gladness
Rejoice
Greatness
And... he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.

Legacy.
Your God.
Faithfulness, step by weighted, waiting step

In spite of...the wait.
Yahweh remembers, Zechariah,
So do we.

jfig     2021


Reflection questions: I interchange the forms Zacharias and Zechariah in this poem, quite simply, because I think there is something beautiful about the word form Zacharias. As if a human could be cast in different lights. It is Zechariah’s aura of faithfulness, upon which the spotlight briefly rests, scene I in the story of Christ’s birth. Is it this faithfulness, seed of God’s own image cast in beautiful bronze glow, which Yahweh remembers? It would be well beyond my credentials, to suggest that God chose Zechariah for his role, because of his faithfulness. But I wonder (after Z. got over being flustered, of course); if God reminded Zechariah, and Zechariah reminded God (because they were on journey together), where exactly they were headed.

 “And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.” Luke 1:6 When I read this story, I am struck repeatedly by the almost certain human impossibility of Zacharias and Elizabeth’s faithfulness. Surely such strength of character is improbable given a long wandering journey of grief. At least without some deviation of purpose, without resentment… Step after waiting faithful step, Zechariah’s footfalls echo Yahweh’s, a journey they have somehow, mysteriously pursued together, one reflecting the Other. How can this be?

In what way have you experienced God’s faithful presence in your season(s) of waiting? What would you like Yahweh to remember about your journey together?

It strikes me that Zechariah arrived at faithfulness, not just for his own sake; but as comfort and strength lent to his wife. For the sake of those he served as priest.  As a foundation from which his son, Spirit-filled, would move? Is there some way in which you would like to invite Father, Son, Spirit to keep you company now as you pursue faithfulness? Who is waiting with you, for the coming of His Salvation?

Lord, God Almighty, we long for the company of Your Presence, as we wait, and wonder… and wander.

THANK YOU for your faithfulness that guards our very being and gives us hope. Your strength, Your unwavering purpose. We need all this, and more. We need the mystery of you giving us strength not our own. Like Zechariah, may your faithfulness find its reflection in us. As we walk in it, may heads and hearts turn toward you in readiness for your salvation.  Amen

Isaiah 40:31 They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

2Cor. 2: 14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.