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Speaking to the Soul: After his Father

Speaking to the Soul: After his Father

Week of Advent 4, Year One

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]


Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 61, 62 (morning) // 112, 115 (evening)

Isaiah 33:17-22

Revelation 22:6-11,18-20

Luke 1:57-66

I once watched an episode of the old television show “Bewitched,” in which the entire plot revolved around what Samantha and Darrin would name their newborn son. Each side of the family thought that the boy should be named after his grandfather, and Samantha and Darrin were torn between the names of the baby’s maternal or paternal line. In the end, Samantha and Darrin broke with tradition and simply named their son Adam.

In today’s gospel as well, a family makes a sudden intervention in a patriarchal tradition. Just when her eight-day-old son is about to be named after his father, Zechariah, Elizabeth the mother speaks up: “No; he is to be called John.” The people around her protest that the baby can’t possibly be named John, for there’s not a single relative in the family by that name. Unsurprisingly, these people defer to Zechariah himself to settle the matter. To their surprise, Zechariah spells out his opinion: “His name is John.”

Zechariah had been silenced for his doubt that he and Elizabeth would have a son at all. When he confirms that the boy’s name will be John, Zechariah recovers his voice. But in that window of time when Zechariah was speechless, and when Elizabeth raised her voice, remarkable things could happen. In order for the kingdom to unfold before us, some voices may need to be muted or at least tuned out, while others need to be lifted. And the rest of us need ears to hear.

Lora Walsh serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


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