Reading: Grab your bible and read Luke 1:5-17
John the Baptizer was born to be the forerunner of Christ. It all sounds so easy when we read it in the Gospels, but for Elizabeth and Zechariah the experience of being challenged by God’s call, of being confronted with God’s messenger while burning incense, of becoming parents-to-be in their old age, and of carrying the weight of this child’s significance through the pregnancy and then through John’s childhood could not have been easy!
It is always like this when we respond to God. It may be tempting to think that following Jesus is meant to make life “work”, meant to take away all struggle and pain and sacrifice from us, but the Scriptures give a very different picture. The life God offers is indeed full and vibrant and meaningful, but it does not get this way by putting us in some “bubble” away from the realities of the world. Rather, it is as we engage the pain and struggle of the world, as we offer our lives in service of God and others, as we learn to live out of God’s call, and help others to encounter the God who seeks to welcome them into God’s amazing reign, that we discover abundant life. Elizabeth and Zechariah took on a huge responsibility when they were called to be Johns parents, but with all of the struggle, work and heartbreak they also knew God’s presence and life in a way that they could never have done any other way. If their son was faithful in fulfilling his calling, it must have been, at least in part, due to the courage and faithfulness of his parents!
In what ways is God asking you to take on new responsibilities or challenges for the sake of God’s reign? What struggles may you have to endure as you seek to follow Christ? How can you learn to embrace God’s abundant life in the midst of service and sacrifice, rather than by trying to escape from the world’s difficulties? Can you commit to one thing today?
God, sometimes I wish you wouldn’t call me to be part of what you are doing in the world. Sometimes I wish you would just swoop in like Superman, fixing everything and leaving me to just watch in amazement. But, you don’t work like that do you? You ask for human hands and wombs, human voices and hearts to be the channels of your grace and love - and sometimes the human “resources” you seek are mine.
Help me to embrace the challenge of being a participant in your coming into the world, into the lives of the people around me. And help me to willingly give myself in whatever ways you may ask of me, to serve and love you and others. Amen.