Hope Is A Dangerous Thing

Today we are hearing Zecheriah’s Song.  We’re maybe more used to Mary’s Song, frequently called the Magnificat, where Mary says “My soul magnifies the Lord” after she gets the word that she is going to be the mother of the Messiah.  That’s an important message but this is Zechariah’s song, a song that announces the promise of hope.

[audio http://www.buzzsprout.com/33052/335264-hope-is-a-dangerous-thing.mp3]

Luke is writing to a people who need some hope.  He is writing at a time a little bit after the time of Jesus when things seem pretty bleak for his audience.  The Israelites have been pushing the boundaries of insurrection and the Romans finally had enough and crushed any hope the people had in their faith.

Why so hopeful now?  Well, Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth are supposedly too old to have kids.  Sounds like a story we had back in September between Abraham and Sarah, doesn’t it?  That’s Genesis 18 if you feel like checking on that.  Zechariah and Elizabeth have resigned themselves to their lot because well, what are you going to do?

Remember last week we talking about the Temple and the presence of God found in the holy of holies?  And regular everyday people couldn’t go in there?  Zechariah is serving as a priest in the temple and is working in the space right next to the Holy of Holies.  He is right next to the Holy of Holies, the place where the real and living God dwells among people.

That’s probably a little terrifying for him and his fear is no doubt not reduced when an angel shows up.  That is no doubt something that would get your undivided attention but the angel tells him not to be afraid, he’s got some good news.  Zechariah and Elizabeth are going to have a son and he will be named John.

Zechariah should be cheering about now but what really happened was he doubted the angel and for his doubt he lost his voice and couldn’t speak until all the things the angel said came true.  Like having a baby and naming him John.

They do come true.  The baby arrives and is named John.  At this point Zechariah’s voice breaks out in a song.  A song of hope.  Starting at v68

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a mighty savior[g] for us    in the house of his servant David,

That sounds pretty hopeful.  Zechariah and Elizabeth have been in a bit of a bind, hoping and praying for a miracle all their lives but things haven’t turned out the way they wanted.  They’ve been hoping and praying but nothing.

Hope is a dangerous thing. Video Clip

Hope is a dangerous thing.

Hope requires that we trust in something other than ourselves.  Hope requires that we believe in something bigger than ourselves.  Hope requires that we leave ourselves vulnerable to disappointment.  Hope requires the faith in the possible from the impossible.

Hope is a dangerous thing.

Hope is dangerous because it leaves open the possibility of a life transformed.  If we are willing to leave ourselves open to disappointment, if we are willing to believe in God who is so much bigger than ourselves and trust in a Christ, a messiah, so much bigger than ourselves then we are at risk of having our lives transformed by God in Christ through the power of the holy spirit.

Hope is a dangerous thing.

And hope is a beautiful thing.  Hope believes in a God that is coming to us in the person of Jesus Christ.  Hope trusts in a Messiah that is coming to save us.  Hope recognizes that all things are possible through the power of the holy spirit.

Hope is living into Christ’s victory over sin and death and living into the baptismal promise that in Christ death has no claim on us.  Because when all else is said and done, Christ has claimed us.

Hope is a beautiful thing.

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