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When Silence and Singing Kiss

December 18, 2021 • Life for Leaders

Scripture – Luke 1:68, 72 (NRSV)

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them… Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant.”

Focus

I have empathy for Zechariah’s unbelief. He will often be remembered due to his unbelieving silence. Isn’t that the journey for most of us, though? He got to the place where he was able to center God in his story and declare that in spite of his faithlessness, God remained faithful. God had remembered his people. God was the promise-maker and promise-keeper of this God-ordained covenant. God’s faithfulness did not depend on Zechariah’s.

Devotion

It must have been an uncomfortable silence for Zechariah when he got home after performing his priestly duties. I wonder if his face looked like he had seen a ghost. Elizabeth may have said, “Oh hard day at work? Do you want to talk about it? That bad, huh?”—only to be met with silence and surprise in her husband’s eyes. Having been the daughter of priests and married to priests, I wonder if she knew that life serving God sometimes leaves you, well, speechless.

I have empathy for Zechariah’s unbelief. The angel declares that due to his unbelief at the angelic annunciation, he would be rendered unable to speak until the day when these things take place, which would be fulfilled at their proper time. It’s not that Zechariah had not been thinking about this. He actually had been petitioning for a child even as the angel confirmed that God had heard his prayers. However, revelation is a hard gift to receive even when we get what we have asked for. Revelation requires our response, full embodied response.

Zechariah entered into a forced silent prayer retreat for the term of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. I wish I could have talked to him about what happened during those months. John is finally born at the time that the angel pronounced. John, which means “God is gracious”. It was the moment when Zechariah grabbed the tablet and wrote that the baby’s name would be: “His name is John.” It was at this moment, at once, that his tongue was loosed and began to praise God in song. It was in the naming when silence and singing kissed. A naming that was an act of believing.

I have empathy for Zechariah’s unbelief. He will often be remembered due to his unbelieving silence. Isn’t that the journey for most of us, though? He got to the place where he was able to center God in his story and declare that in spite of his faithlessness, God remained faithful. God had remembered his people. God was the promise-maker and promise-keeper of this God-ordained covenant. God’s faithfulness did not depend on Zechariah’s.

Reflect

Are there vulnerable places where you have waited a long time for God to remember you? How is the waiting shaping you in your view of God or self?

Act

Bring to God in prayer those places you have been silent about because it has been painful to bring up again. Let the tender mercy of God speak to that vulnerable silence.

Pray

God of ages, faithful from generation to generation, thank you for reminding me that you remain faithful even when I am forgetful of your faithfulness. God, speak to my silence and the hidden places that I have been too tender or raw to bring up. Remind me of your grace and your tender mercy. Jesus, come close, draw near. Spirit Counselor, speak to me truth and lead me to the full truth about myself, my God, and my circumstances. Amen.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Saved for Servanthood


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