Luke’s story – a story about how God, in Jesus Christ, has touched the pain of the world in a new and wondrous and transfiguring way – begins with a priest. With a priest in the temple:
Then there appeared to Zechariah an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. (Luke 1:11)
We could be forgiven for thinking that miracles and visions and getting the goosebumps feeling God’s presence are things that happen to especially religious people and that happen in church. That’s how things seem to go here. Like Samuel and Isaiah before him, holy Zechariah has a powerful and overwhelming, life-changing experience of God in the house of God. No big surprise.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. (Luke 1:26-27)
Mary has her own powerful and overwhelming, life-changing experience of God — not in Jerusalem, the holy city, but in sleepy, little Nazareth; and not in the temple, but in her own home. Who knows what Mary is up to when the angel Gabriel knocks on her door: doing the wash? making dinner?
The way that God comes to Zechariah in the temple is nothing compared to the way God comes to Mary while she is at home. The one only sets the stage for the other. Encountering God in church is just preparation for encountering God at home. And at work. And out and about. And really any place we may be.
Most of us are spending more time at home than we ever have. And maybe less time in church than we ever have. For Luke, this is a great set-up. We are right where God wants us. Ready to be visited by an angel. Ready to be called and to put to work by God. Ready for something new. Ready for miracles. Ready for ‘the Holy Spirit to come upon us.’ Ready for ‘the Power of the Most High’ to overshadow us.’ Ready for Jesus.
Shared by Reverend Anthony Livolsi