Psalter: Luke 1: 68-79 (Advent 2C)
68“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. 69He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, 70as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. 72Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, 73the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us 74that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. 78By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, 79to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
This passage, the Benedictus, the Song of Zechariah, are the first words of Zechariah after he had been rendered mute upon finding out that he and his wife would finally have a son. Zechariah is the father of John the Baptist and the husband of Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin. These words, Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini, or “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”, form Zechariah’s blessing of his son. See, Zechariah was the one who knew who his son was, knew that he was the one that would point to the dawn that was beginning to break on the horizon.
Zechariah voiced this beautiful passage as an affirmation of faith. He wasn’t unclear about his reality. He knew the way the world was. But he also knew who his son was, who he would become. He understood the purpose to which his son was called. He knew that his son was the one that could point to the Light that was just beginning to break through. So, in an incredible expression of faith, he understood that the claim of this season is not that God will fix things, not that God will put the broken world back together, but that God will go where the Divine is not expected, where God is not wanted, where most think that change or redemption is impossible. Faith is believing not that God will take away the darkness but rather that God will break through the darkness and the Dawn will come.
We are called to live the same. We are called to voice the Light into the darkness that others might see its dawning. Advent is a season lived in darkness; it is also a season that knows the Dawn is just over the horizon, “…the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark. (Rabindranath Tagore)
Grace and Peace,