December 2016

December 2016

"Do not be afraid, for your prayer has been heard"
Luke 1.13

(Please first read the Note below)

Luke sets the scene and introduces us to the first characters of his Gospel of Jesus. As he writes for his reader, he has to try to touch the chords of his reader's mind and heart while still being true to the one about whom he is writing.  He decides to begin with a sketch of others who were intimately related to the events as they began and who clearly belonged to the faith community of the day. In this way he could  establish  that everything he wrote was verifiable and true to the history and hopes of that community . . .

More immediate to the life of Jesus was the family of His mother's cousin, Elizabeth, a name which means "God is my all".  Her husband's name, Zecharias, means"man of  honour".  Elizabeth had reached the age beyond child bearing, and Zecharias refused to believe the promise of a child. He held an appointment in the Jerusalem temple and was required to be on duty in the daily worship there according to some 800 years of family tradition. Elizabeth's own family history was also rooted in a branch of the Temple priesthood. . .

(So the identity and authenticity of these "forerunners", parents of the great messianic Forerunner John, is established by Luke in his introduction to the good news)

. . . Both of them are described by Luke as "being righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the laws and commandments of the Lord."   This was their supreme mark of provenance for Luke.

NOTE.   Canon David Tann, who died this year, was a long-standing and highly respected member of the FCP and Witness of the Word. Many years ago he sent me a copy of the commentary on Luke's Gospel that he wrote for his own congregation. He had two principles in mind: one, to write for lay people, the other to write from a standpoint of prayer. He thought, quite rightly, that parts of what he had written could be adapted for our "Sayings for Stillness". This month's Saying (from the commentary for chapter 1 v. 5-13) is one of many Dominical Sayings that David used in his work. The Word is spoken by God's angel to the father of John the Baptist. It is appropriate for Advent and Christmas.