Susquehanna Morning

Susquehanna Morning

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Advent 4 Sunday: The Compassion of God

People, look East, and sing today! Love, the Guest is on the way!

December 20: O Clavis David! O Key of David!
O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
We will be spending one more moment with Zechariah, and so our passage is Luke 1:78-79, the last sentence of the "Benedictus" ("Blessed"), New Revised Standard Version

78 By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

You can click here for Lectio Divina suggestions, and return for the meditation and prayer.


Today's meditation is very brief: it is a passage from this morning's sermon.

And here, we see how fatherhood has transformed Zechariah. Hidden in this verse (because you’d have to read Greek to find it) is an odd little word (splangchna)that literally means “entrails.” It’s an attempt to describe the feeling you get in your gut when you are moved by compassion for someone. When you see the face of someone in pain. When you hear the voice of someone crying. When you hold a beloved child—maybe the baby you thought you would never have—in your arms for the first time. It hits you in the gut. Zechariah sings it: the warmth, the deep down love and care that we know as a physical response. He gets it. He gets God’s love for us. (Elizabeth gets it too, but I imagine she’s resting now.) God’s loving gaze is shining on us, and it’s just like dawn breaking, like the welcome warmth of the rising sun after a long, cold, dark night. That warmth comes straight form the heart—or maybe the guts—of God.

"What Wondrous Love" sung by the St. Olaf Choir 


Compassionate God, your heart goes out to the suffering of your people, and you come close in love and mercy. Open our hearts to your way of being in the world, a way that truly speaks of your promised faithfulness made manifest. We pray in the name of the One who comes. Amen.

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