Summary: First Person Narrative of Zacharias, father of John the Baptist; our need of quiet in response to God...
C: Holy Silence
Th: Holy Responses to God
Pr: WE NEED TO BE QUIET.
First Person Narrative
PA: How is the change to be observed?
RMBC 28 November 04 AM
Did you ever have trouble with talking too much?
That was I problem I had once.
Well, you know that is kind of problem we religious types have.
We can talk and talk and talk.
We always have something to say.
By the way, I might not be who you think I am.
I understand that there is a strong resemblance between myself and your shepherd…
Shepherd Paul – that is a curious title…
Why would you call a spiritual leader a shepherd?
After all, sheep are so dumb.
Well, that is a different subject altogether.
Perhaps for another time…
My name is Zacharias…
Some call me Zechariah.
My name means “Yahweh remembers.”
And it is a very good name.
I have reflected often on the fact that God remembers.
And yet, sometimes I wondered.
As you may already know, I had a wonderful wife named Elizabeth.
She was quite the partner for me and we enjoyed our marriage…
Except that we had no children.
Perhaps it is something that you would understand because you have been unable to have children.
Or perhaps you do not.
If you do not, let me explain.
In our culture, when you are childless, it is a sign of an unacceptable life.
It means that you have been doing something wrong.
God is displeased with you.
Believe me, we attempted to obey God’s command to be fruitful and multiply, if you know what I mean.
But it was not been successful.
For whatever reason, that door remained closed.
Elizabeth and I prayed long and hard on this subject.
But still, there was no answer.
The heavens were strangely silent.
All our friends were having children.
And we just watched from afar, wishing their joy could be ours as well…
Of course, all our friends reminded us of Abraham and Sarah, like we somehow had forgotten the story!
It’s not like we didn’t know the story.
But frankly, when you were the age we had become, why bother hope for that?
For at our age, children were a little bit more than what you have energy for.
Anyway…that was one of those old stories.
I believed it to be true.
But I was not so sure God worked like that anymore.
Now, don’t misunderstand.
I didn’t give up on God.
I was devoted.
I was devoted to God.
We were devoted to God.
We did everything we possibly could to be right with God.
We obeyed God’s commandments.
When we sinned, we offered the appropriate sacrifices.
We were a part of the synagogue life.
In every way, we wanted to be in right relationship with God.
As much as humanly possible, we were working to be in tune with what God had for us.
But I did discover that God was not done with us.
Not by a long shot.
Though I had, in a way, thought the Lord was pretty much done with us, especially since we were on in our years.
What we found out is that God had been planning things for us for a long time.
I was chosen.
Let me explain…
Twice a day, a priest goes into the temple to offer incense in the Holy of Holies.
How one was chosen was by lot.
In other words, it was not some kind of political thing, who you knew, or anything like that.
It was God that chose you.
And it was literally a once in a lifetime event.
Once you did it once, you never could do it again.
And since there was over 20,000 of us in the land at that time, many never had the privilege to go into this most sacred place.
To be chosen…
Do you know, this was a great blessing!
It was a vindication of sorts.
To others, it had always appeared that we were doing something wrong.
Since we didn’t have children, it was a sign that God was withholding His blessing.
And it wasn’t just those around us that were thinking this.
We thought it too.
But I was chosen!
This was so phenomenal!
I can never express to you the excitement that I felt.
It was so unbelievable.
God was blessing!
As the time came, I rehearsed the actions over and over.
I was going into the very presence of God.
I was going to the place where the glory dwelt.
I thought about what I would do…the offering of incense…
I thought about what I would say…the prayers that were to be made.
So the time came.