Psalm: 103
Old Testament: Sirach 48:1-11
New Testament: Luke 1:5-21

Y’know…..for all my religious education and seminary training….I’ve never quite understood the connection between Elijah and John the Baptist. I mean….it makes sense since Elijah preached repentance and destruction just like Jesus’ cousin…..but why is he the prophet singled out for comparison???

I don’t pretend to know the answer and would welcome any feedback from my readers as to why Jewish/Early Christians would have made this connection. 🙂

That aside, I was drawn to a line that was repeated both in the lesson from Sirach, and is repeated with slight adjustment in Luke. Check it out:

At the appointed time…you will turn the hearts of parents to their children (Sirach 48:10)

The Third Evangelist quotes this same line, but adds an extra role for Elizabeth and Zechariah’s son.

With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 5:17)

What causes me to scratch my head a little bit is that John the Baptist’s ministry was not exactly lovey-dovey. If anything, his call to repentance and harsh words against the Pharisees seems extremely divisive.

But what if the parent talked about….the one we are reunited with….is not a human one. What if our hearts are being turned to the Father??? Then the reading and comparison starts to make sense.

If our relationship to the Father is broken, then every other relationship in our lives can be potentially off-balance. The call to repentance and baptism is not to avoid destruction and wrath…..but as an invitation to right-living and right-relationship.

Tonight we thank God for sending his messenger to make our crooked ways straight and to prepare a highway for our God…..so that we might know our Father face-to-face. +

Note to the reader: You will have to forgive my use of the French name tonight….it’s one of the few times I let my ethnic heritage show even though I can’t speak the language very well 😉

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