Luke 1:59-64 : On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.” They said to her, “None of your relatives has this name.” Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. (New Revised Standard Version)

For as long as people have put their worries to paper, there have been prose and poetry lamenting the awfulness of the present. The writings of Isaiah and Jeremiah are some of the best examples we have from scripture.

I remember back in the 1980s, when the band Genesis’ angst anthem “Land of Confusion” was popular. The last verse proclaimed, “My generation will put it right. We’re not just making promises that we know we’ll never keep.” In retrospect, I don’t think things quite panned out like the lyricist hoped.

In all fairness, promising big things is a sure path to disappointment. Imagine how Zechariah must have felt in the presence of Gabriel, as the angel promised a son to be born of Elizabeth. This flew in the face of everyday experience. Zechariah was skeptical and asked for a sign to know this was true.

Gabriel answered that Zechariah would lose his voice until what was promised had come to pass.  By the time of today’s reading, he has been mute for months. When asked if custom should be ignored by naming his son “John,” Zechariah affirms his role in fulfilling God’s promise and literally puts it into writing.

God’s promise of boundless grace and forgiveness extends to all of us and is fulfilled perpetually. Like Zechariah, we are called to fulfill God’s promise by becoming agents of grace. In this season of celebrating promises kept, ask what role you can play in promise fulfillment.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, guide me. Help me to find a role to play in fulfilling your promises.

Wondering While Waiting: When was a time you saw a promise of God come to fulfillment?


PJ – Inspire. Ignite. Invite.

Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Indianapolis, IN