This weekend is what some might call a “liminal space.” A time of crossing over. An in-between of sorts.
We will be ending the liturgical year – that’s the worship calendar – with Christ the King Sunday. It is a day to celebrate the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises when Christ will return at the end of the age. It is a bright light in our diary as the shadows of winter begin to fall.
We will also be looking to the upcoming holiday of Thanksgiving in worship with beloved hymns and a few decorations to remind us of God’s blessings at harvest time. Thanksgiving is its own transitional time from autumn into winter. And in the world at large, from pumpkins into Christmas cheer.
As we float in this peculiar moment in our calendars, the lectionary has granted us the gift of one of the greatest songs ever written into the Scriptures. And while we may be at the end of the year, we are going back to the very beginning of the gospel of Luke.
Picture this: A couple blessed with love and laughter. A long life together. One a priest for God’s holy Temple in Jerusalem. The other descended from Aaron’s own nieces (yes, that means Moses’s family). But they are getting on in years and have never had a child of their own.
Now, especially for people in their position, they were considered accursed by God. They were being punished for something in people’s eyes, though no one was sure quite what.
Until that day in the Temple when the man named “God Remembers” is visited by an angel while he was praying alone. He will have a son. A prophet. Even with his wife being so far along in years. For nothing will be impossible with God.
Hilarity ensues as this would-be father does what every follower of God has done since time immemorial and questions the messenger. It does not end well.
But nine months later, a bouncing baby boy arrives. They name him “God is gracious,” as the angel foretold. And his father sings a truly remarkable song of blessing to God and prophecy for his new son and the one he will prepare the way for.
It will set the stage for all that is to come in these exciting weeks ahead. So come and listen again to Zechariah’s song as we give thanks to God for our many blessings, most especially those two cousins born two millennia ago.
Blessings, Pastor Janie