The Scripture Readings this week are:
- Luke 1:5-20, 57-66
- Luke 1:67-80 (VU p.900)
The Sermon title is A Miraculous Birth, A Special Child
Early Thoughts: Christmas is about birth. In fact as Luke tells the story it includes 2 births. This week we look at the often overlooked birth, the cousin who will later baptise Jesus in the Jordan.
AS the story goes, John should not have been born. Everyone believed his parents were infertile (or at least that his mother was). Zechariah has trouble believing the angel and for that is rendered speechless for the duration of the pregnancy.
But this is a special baby for reasons beyond the miracle of his conception. This child will be a prophet. This child will turn people's hearts back to God. This child will be, even in utero, filled with the Holy Spirit. So the angel promises.
Then we jump to his birth. There is a bit of confusion and possibly even scandal about what his name will be, but out of that scene Zechariah gets his voice back. And he sings.
John, his father sings, will be the one to prepare the way. John will remind the people to take responsibility for their sins. John will, in his own way, lead the people in the path of peace.
When we next meet John the peace will seem a little absent. His preaching is not the style one would find in the line of "How to Win Friends and Influence People". But he does influence people, he does gain a following -- so much of one that he becomes a threat to public order and so is killed. But maybe that is one of the ways we get to Peace. Maybe we have to be ready to be offended and be offensive to get to the Reign of Peace and Justice. Maybe we have to face the realities that are uncomfortable if we are actually going to change how we work, how the world works.
Some thoughts as we prepare for the birth of the Prince of Peace.