30 June 2021
29 June 2021
28 June 2021
25 June 2021
24 June 2021
The rabbi was preparing to give the little one the name of his father when Elizabeth interrupted. “No, he shall be called John.” John, which means Yahweh is gracious. The people in the room look at the women in amazement and the rabbi frowns: “None of your relatives is called by that name!” he exclaims. All eyes fix on the old man, Zechariah, still silent, nary a word escaping his lips since his vision in the temple. They make signs to him to ask what he should be named (signs? He’s dumb, not deaf!). He motions for a writing tablet and writes upon it: his name is John.
And then it stopped, as suddenly as it had started. His mouth was opened, his tongue loosed, and he spoke. What did he speak? St. Luke strongly hints at it by saying that he was “blessing God.” That is, the words that we know as the Benedictus. He opens his lips in a canticle of praise to the God of Israel, who has visited and redeemed His people. What is amazing about the canticle is that most of it isn’t about John at all; there’s a bigger miracle in the room!
Zechariah shouts to one and to all that the time of the great fulfillment foretold by the prophets was at hand. The God of Israel had visited His people to rescue them. He was showing mercy, remembering the covenant and oath He swore to Abraham. Now all God’s people would be set free to serve God without fear in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life. And if God was now in the flesh, his beloved little John would be the prophet of the Most High, going before the Lord to prepare His way, the way of Him who came to bring light to those sitting in the shadow of death, guiding feet into the very way of peace. The people marveled and wondered at the astonishing words that they heard.
You may wonder too. For this is what you have been created for: to serve, to worship, to praise God, and to do so without fear because God has come in the flesh to clothe you in a holiness and righteousness that can stand in the presence of the All Holy without trembling, fear or shame. A holiness and righteousness that force death and Satan to back away from you. For your holiness and your righteousness IS the Child who was in Mary’s womb and on Calvary’s tree and is risen from the dead. He has answered for all your sin. He has died the death for you and lives to give salvation too you. Marvel and wonder indeed, people loved by God. He has visited you and shows you great mercy. Open your mouth with Zechariah, and with Mary, and bless His holy name! Amen.
23 June 2021
22 June 2021
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;…
Whatever a person pursues in this world that hinders him from the pursuit of Christ is eventually taken from him so he can become embittered toward the world and awakened to the love of Christ.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 522 [Weedon notes: a remarkably similar thought to that expressed by Francis Thompson in his “Hound of Heaven”:
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!’]
21 June 2021
18 June 2021
17 June 2021
16 June 2021
15 June 2021
14 June 2021
11 June 2021
10 June 2021
09 June 2021
08 June 2021
07 June 2021
04 June 2021
Celebrating 39 years! We plan next year (God willing) to spend two weeks in Mexico just as we spent two weeks in St. Thomas (VI) after our wedding. Tonight we went to Mousalli’s and enjoyed oysters on the half shell, some mushrooms stuffed with Alaskan Crab and cheese, and a one pound ribeye a piece, with two glasses of Cab: