(Zechariah said): “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.” ~ Luke 1:68-79
As Zechariah sang this song to his young son - the son who would proclaim the coming of Jesus - he sings from a place of hope and longing.
The way of peace had been hoped for and dreamed about for centuries. Empire after empire had ruled over the Jewish people. Their temple had been destroyed and a new one was being built.
The shadow of death had been following them for as long as they could remember.
What would peace then look like when it came?
There would be forgiveness. And mercy.
There would be salvation.
Now, this savior, Zechariah said. was mighty. This was a savior from the house of David, after all. And David had been their great military leader. A mighty king.
To Zechariah and his people, it seemed as if peace could only come through might. Through strength. Peace could only come when the war was won.
Do we see things much differently?
But when the savior came - this savior that Zechariah's son would proclaim - he would show that there was a different kind of peace.
He would show that the peace that would lead to forgiveness and mercy and salvation would be born out of forgiveness and mercy and salvation.
Not might or strength or war.
Generous and gracious God, open the doors of our hearts to peace so that we can make a place at the table for those who are usually left out. Amen