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Growing silence

by davesandel on December 19th, 2012

Growing silence

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Third Week of Advent

Luke 1:5-20

The priest Zechariah, who with his barren wife Elizabeth were advanced in years, was chosen to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense.  While all the people were praying outside,  the angel of the Lord, appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.  Zechariah was troubled, and the angel said, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah.  Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.  He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb.”

Zechariah said, “How shall I know this?”  Gabriel replied, “I am Gabriel; I stand before God.  I was sent to speak to you and to announce this good news.  Now you will be silent and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”

After Zechariah returned home, his wife became pregnant.  For nearly a year, Zechariah was mute.  As Elizabeth nourished the growing baby inside her, Zechariah nourished the growing awareness of God inside himself.

Over time the voices inside him stilled.  As his mind was less filled with his own words, the words of God were dearer and clearer.  He began to notice God in all things.  He saw God, he tasted God, he felt God, he smelled God.  Most of all, he heard God.

Zechariah’s imposed silence might have been a blessing to Elizabeth, because he listened much more than he spoke!  But it was a grace and blessing for himself as well, a joy for which he learned to thank God day after day.

Gabriel’s words were not chosen by the angel.  They were chosen by God speaking through the angel, who loved Zechariah right through his disobedience and gave him exactly the right gift.  God was making Zechariah more every day into the man that he created him to be.

Which is what you do for me, Lord, and for every one of us.  You are master of making me the person you created me to be.  When I rest in the moment and follow rather than second-guess you, I know boundless joy.  In my own silence, your bells ring and your words are living water for me to drink.

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