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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, November 27, 2019  

Today’s Scripture Reading | Luke 1:68–79     

“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. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (NRSV)

This prophecy from Zechariah appears just after his son, John (later John the Baptist), was born. It provides a mission statement for John’s ministry to come and is one of the first exclamations in Luke of God’s grace for God’s people.

What I find particularly moving about this passage is the focus on redemption and positive love. Unlike many of the psalms, Zechariah does not predict the downfall or destruction of our enemies but rather focuses on the “tender mercy of our God,” whom we will now be able to “serve without fear” and who will “guide our feet into the path of peace.” How much more peaceful might our world be if we were all to take such a courageous view of our service to God! Zechariah reminds us to be bold and unafraid in our worship and reminds us that God’s influence will always push us toward more loving, peaceful relationships, actions, and communities.

Lord, thank you for serving as a guiding light of peace even when I find myself in darkness. Walk with me this day, and guide me to serve you without fear, so that I may bring love and peace to all I meet. Amen.

Written by Michael Pankratz, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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