Scripture Reading: LUKE 1:18-24
Often, we see that for which we are looking and fail to notice much of what is around us. A familiar route that we travel regularly becomes mere background and we arrive at our destination with no recollection of what we passed along the way. Details in the spaces we occupy fade from consciousness until someone unfamiliar with them points them out. One of my children has a gift for noticing patterns and anomalies. The building where my office is located is historic with a big staircase that I use instead of the rather aged elevator. After years of this ascending and descending these stairs, one day this child went to work with me and pointed out the discrepancy in the stairs’ materials between one of the floors: the treads went from black to white. In all the many footfalls upon them, I’d never before seen the marked difference. Once she pointed this out, the contrast was absolutely obvious, and yet I had missed it time and time again. It strikes me in this passage about Zechariah’s angelic visitation that in his inability to speak and tell those waiting for him outside the temple what happened, they name that he has seen a vision. How did they know? Were they watching for such divine happenings? On the lookout for the holy?
We need others to help us see and interpret things, people and places we might otherwise miss. We need the community of faith to discern the work of the Spirit when we cannot articulate what is happening within and around us. The members of the Body of Christ possess different gifts, varying perspectives and points of view. When Zechariah could not speak, the people of God took notice and recognized that something extraordinary had taken place that day in the temple and named the truth that he had seen a vision. This Advent, are we paying attention and watching for the movement of the Spirit, for evidence of God’s inbreaking and the angels’ speaking? Often, we see that for which we are watching and miss much of what we do not expect to see. This is the season for noticing and naming the coming and present kingdom of God. is is the season for listening to those around us with eyes to see the holy that we may well walk past daily until they point it out and it becomes utterly obvious.
Lord of angels and visions, we often fail to see you at work and present in holy spaces and everyday places. We forget to be on the lookout for you and ignore your signs and instructions. When we get distracted, send your Spirit to arrest our attention. Remove the scales from our eyes that prevent us from paying attention to you. Grant us the ability to not only notice you, but act on your Word. Amen.
Jill Duffield © 2020 Presbyterian Outlook