The Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah)
Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel,
who has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty Saviour,
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his holy prophets God promised of old
to save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all that hate us,
To show mercy on our ancestors,
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath God swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of all their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Zechariah’s response to the angel’s message is nine months in silent gestation. As a child born before its time, before the lungs are developed, cannot draw breath, so too a word spoken before its time does not grasp the life it carries in potential. Zechariah’s song – of praise, of hope, of comfort, of commission – is still spoken and sung every day two millennia later…
What is the word to us today?
What response might be shaped in us, as we wait, in silence, this Advent?