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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Luke 1:67–75

Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. (NRSV)

Reflection
This passage is commonly known as the song of Zechariah. It is a psalm of praise, prophecy, testimony, and one of great joy. Zechariah has just named his son John at the imperative of the angel Gabriel. Zechariah was unmuted to sing the unfolding of God’s mercy and salvation; he could finally see the advent of God, for John would grow up to become a great prophet, a forerunner to the Messiah.

God is and always has been at work in this world, as the prophets of long ago had promised. God is keeping the covenant God made with Abraham, a promise to be God to him and to all of Abraham’s descendants. Through the ages, God keeps God’s promises.

This assurance of God’s faithfulness is liberating, both for Zechariah and for us. Through the power of the Spirit, we can trust God and live without fear. As the lyrics of a popular hymn affirm, we may have “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.”

Prayer
Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Thank you, God, for your faithfulness and your continuous work in me. Make me an agent of your mercy and peace, this day and always. Amen.

Written by Ken Nicholson, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church


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