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Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel

I was struck by this morning’s gospel reading- about the birth of a baby boy- John – who would grow up to be known as John the Baptist. John was born to parents- Elizabeth and Zechariah, who had long since given up on the hope of their own child. Although they had lived good lives the blessing of a child had passed them by.
Now, as John is born in accordance with the promise of the angel Gabriel, Zechariah sings his great song of praise which we use every day in our morning prayer
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel who has come to his people and set them free”
He goes on to praise God for sending a saviour- BUT at this point, the saviour- Jesus- the child of Elizabeth’s cousin Mary- has not been born. There was a hope- but the child who carried that hope hadn’t yet arrived.
Zechariah looks at the birth of his own child – a child just born and only just named- and sees that God is faithful- and praises him because he knows that God’s other promises are going to be kept.

We can’t yet see the way out of our present situation. The route “out” of lockdown hasn’t yet been revealed. We are still in a place of difficult and danger. But what we do know is that God has kept his promise. Our Saviour Jesus is already with us. We are not alone, abandoned or without hope.
We can rest on what we already know of God’s character. We can trust that in Jesus, we have a saviour who understands our frailties and our fears and our anxieties and our sadnesses. One who stays with us “to the end of the age” and who promises rest to all who are weary and heavy laden.
And we can rejoice because we know that Jesus has overcome death, and that even in these most challenging and difficult days, there is an unfading, imperishable hope ahead of us.
If today feels like a long, hard day to get through, know that Jesus is beside you- and know that you are loved. And please do get in touch if you are feeling overwhelmed- or if you just would like to talk.

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