Dave made some good points on Sunday, about the birth of John the Baptist.  First of all, have you ever thought about the angel’s statement to Zechariah, “Your prayer has been answered”?  Do you really think that old Zechariah was still praying for a baby at this point?  Good for him if he was (perhaps remembering Abraham and Sarah), but the fact is that his job at that moment was to be praying for the people.  And when the angel said that he was going to father a baby–that was indeed an answer for the people!  Because at last, this baby would be a sign of the coming Messiah.  Dave reminded us that as John pointed to Jesus, so should we–as individuals and as a church.

Another thing that Dave mentioned which we’d never thought of before, had to do with John’s question:  remember when he had been thrown into prison, and he sent his disciples to ask Jesus “are you He who is to come, or should we expect another?”  John wouldn’t have asked that of Jesus if he’d thought He was a fake, or whatever.  He must have believed that Jesus was from God to ask Him that and expect a true answer; John was only asking if Jesus was the Messiah.  As Dave said, “it’s OK to question”.

Now to continue on our theme for this week:  surprise, joy, worship.  (We’ve also tried to pretend that we’re “waiting in the stable”, but some days have forgotten to mention it!)  A couple of weeks ago there was an excellent write-up in our church bulletin about worship (we think it was Rob), which is so good we’ll just copy most of it for you:

“It is in worship what we most fully experience our true identity as God’s beloved creatures and our distinct identity as a called people of God.  Each worship service has its own rhythm or pattern or liturgy, which varies according to the Christian year and events in the life of the congregation.  The worship service as a whole is a drama which reflects and participates in the drama of God’s story.  Each component is carefully chosen and placed within the order of service for a particular reason.  To miss part of a worship service would be similar to skipping chapters in a novel that one is reading, which would inhibit one’s ability to understand and enjoy the book.  Regular participation in worship is a vehicle for the transformation of our lives that is brought about by the Holy Spirit as we learn to live within the reality of God’s gracious love.”
This stable may be small and crowded, but there’s a tangible excitement mounting–about what, we’re not sure.
Walk to Rivendell:  We begin Day 13 (Oct. 5th); there is frost.
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