“Do not be afraid, for your prayer has been heard.” May we not only wear this on our t-shirts, our bumpers, our foreheads, but may we internalize this message. By internalizing, may we be transformed and radiate in a world that so greatly needs to hear, “Do not be afraid.”
One of the blessings already in my vocational journey of ministry is the witness of those who live these words. A witness that strengthens me and all of those around when called to visit the hospital. A witness at the time of great loss of a loved one. A witness of an embrace that reminds me that the importance isn’t about coming up with the right words, but that it is about sharing in the presence of one another in our most difficult moments. Is there an amount of time that would be enough to prepare one for some of the most difficult calls? In those times we feel unprepared, Gabriel reminds us that God is enough. God is present. “Do not be afraid, for your prayer has been heard.”
“With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Isn’t this a beautiful picture? So often our effort is so focused upon youth programs/camps/groups. Focus can be be through a zoom lens that limits Sunday School for kids. Meanwhile, we drop the kids off celebrating the hour of peace and quiet. Gabriel instead begins with the parents. Let us start with turning the hearts of the parents to their children. May we as parents participate and lead by example. May our preparation, our turning, our praying, our reading scripture. May our lives be representation of a living faith that lead by missional example. And like Zechariah, when we screw it up–may we humbled in silence.
Something great is coming. May we prepare as families and as communities for new birth, new possibilities, and deeper relationships.