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The God of second chances

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The God of second chances

Mary went out at that time and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah.  She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.’ 

Elizabeth was a woman with a sense of humour.  Mary is in ‘Zechariah’s house’ yet it is Elizabeth who speaks (of course, because Zecharaiah has been struck dumb):

… Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’

Can you imagine how that sounded to poor Zechariah?   Although Mary and Zechariah couldn’t have been more different, Elizabeth here hit upon the central difference between these two figures: that where Mary accepted, trusted and believed, Zechariah questioned and doubted.

Thus was Zechariah silenced for nine months, but as soon as he confirms that his son is to be called John (which, fittingly, means ‘Yahweh is gracious’), Zechariah’s power of speech returns.  In response, and filled with the Holy Spirt, Zechariah makes the now famous prophesy (the Benedictus) which we pray every morning during morning prayer.

I don’t suppose Zechariah would ever have chosen to be struck dumb for nine months, but perhaps he looked back on that period of his life as one of growth and spiritual maturity?  I would like to think that Zechariah realised that God had not only given him a second chance but showered blessings on him that were – as is God’s way – totally disproportionate to what he deserved.

At times, perhaps we identify more closely with Zechariah than with Mary.  Perhaps we question, doubt or simply struggle to accept.  During those times, let’s remember Zechariah.  Let’s remember that the God of second chances has only our best interests at heart and asks only for our fidelity, that He may shower blessings on us all the days of our life in his presence.

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