Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Week 2, Day 2

Luke 1:5-25, 57-66 & Luke 3:1-20

Zechariah, Elizabeth, and John the Baptist. I suppose I never took the time to notice that so much of the beginning of Luke's gospel bounces back and forth between Mary/Joseph/Jesus and Elizabeth/Zechariah/John. Clearly, the sees the stories as being related. The devotional guide for today asks: What stories in the Hebrew Bible should Zechariah have remembered when the angel told him he would become a father in his old age? Here are my answers:
  • Abraham and Sarah...especially the part where Sarah laughs at the angels of the Lord.
  • Jacob and Rachel
  • Hannah and Samuel-I still hear Jim Forbes calling out, "And Hannah rose!" in that great preacher voice of his.
I find it sad that all of these women felt shameful about their inability to have children...that somehow society looked down on them because they weren't mothers. I know that was a cultural thing, but I think there are similar societal pressures today, and not just for women. Thankfully, I'm not in a church that puts the pressure on me to be married, and my family certainly doesn't. Sure, there are a few of the Moms at church who think that the solution to any situation in my life would be to find a wife (or for them to find one for me), but for the most part, I'm treated a fully formed person even though I'm not married. That's not always the case, though. It's not as if people come right out and say it, but they'll imply that somehow one's life isn't complete unless one is married. I went to some worship services with my friend Mark that were geared to young adults. There was a clear emphasis on finding a mate. Being married with children was held up as the ideal situation for all people: "When you find that special somebody" not if. Somehow, unless you get married, your life is incomplete, or you aren't OK simply being you. Last year, at the Montreat Collegiate Conference, Tony Campolo explicitly challenged all that nonsense and told an auditorium full of college students that the church has had it backwards all these years...that getting married and settling down isn't necessarily the ideal for people of faith...that Paul is pretty clear that remaining single allows you to be faithful to God in ways that the settled down set have difficulty doing. Anyway, while this "injustice" may not be the same as some others in the world, I hope that the church can be a place where we don't hold up any one model of life circumstance as normative.

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