who visits us like the dawn from on high.
He will give light to those in darkness,
those who dwell in the shadow of death,
and guide us into the way of peace."
My back began to really ache in protest, because I'd been on my feet all during Lauds. Then an image came to me very gently and simply, and lasted only a second or two: I'm sitting in a curtained-off cubicle in the pre-op room of the same-day surgery place where I received my second epidural injection Wednesday. Through the curtains I could hear nurses doing pre-op interviews of other patients nearby. "I see you have a history of thyroid cancer….." "How long since you had the hip replacement? " "Did you take your antidepressant medication today?" We are quite a collection, I think to myself.
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, "No. He will be called John." But they answered her, "There is no one among your relatives who has this name." So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, "John is his name," and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, "What, then, will this child be?" For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
Then Zechariah his father, filled with the holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:
"Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
He has raised up a horn for our salvation
even as he promised through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old:
salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,
to show mercy to our fathers and to be mindful of his holy covenant
and of the oath he swore to Abraham our father,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
because of the tender mercy of our God
to shine on those who sit in darkness and death's shadow,