By Rev. John Forrest Douglas
Associate Minister, First Congregational Church of Long Beach United Church of Christ
Long Beach, California
First, read Luke 1:77-79
I have a confession … I love the change back to standard time in the Fall every year. I know. I’m an anomaly. I love that there are more hours of sunlight in the morning. The dawn comes earlier and I’m able to get my day started. I’m absolutely a morning person. I am that person who is chipper and productive in the wee hours of the morning when many other people are just the walking dead until they have their second (or fourth) cup (or pot) of coffee.
The world has a different feel in the morning. The crisp, cool air of the morning is invigorating as the world wakes up and slowly comes to life.
In the Gospel of Luke, Zechariah shares his vision of the promises of God with his infant son, John (who will be the Baptist later in the story). He sings, “the dawn from heaven will break upon us … and guide us on the path of peace.”
Perhaps Zechariah is a morning person too. He knows the mystery and magic of those post-dawn hours. He knows that we start out on the paths of peace — the paths to wholeness —slowly, one step at a time, just as the world comes to life slowly after the dawn.
Little by little, with our actions, and by following the leading of the Holy Spirit, we build a world that is full of peace and wholeness.
1) What are the small (or huge) ways that you can participate in “the ways that make for peace?”
2) Who are “those who sit in darkness” and what would it look like for the dawn to break for them?
3) Zechariah sings a song of hope. What songs of hope do you sing?