A Hymn of Thanks


Second Sunday of Advent

Week of: December 9, 2018
Scripture: Luke 1:68-79

Bless the Lord God of Israel because he has come to help and has raised up a mighty savior for us ...
(Luke 1:68-69, CEB)


Prophesy: a vision of the future, thankful remembering, trust, readiness — themes found in the lectionary readings for this Advent season and expressed as hymns or poetry. We will focus on one of these ancient hymns each week.


The Gospel of Luke opens with the story of John — the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, nephew of Mary, cousin of Jesus, and forerunner of Jesus the Messiah.

Zechariah's canticle, known to us as "The Benedictus" (the Latin translation of the opening phrase "Let us bless the Lord ..."), is a hymn of prophecy to God's ever-unfolding love and mercy.

A response to the miraculous blessings experienced by Israel, by Elizabeth and Zechariah, the hymn is a glorious song of thanksgiving and faithful remembering for us.

We would do well — proclaimers, wordsmiths, and all artists — to provide the means for reflective study on this hymn in final preparation for worship this Sunday. The text is full of imagery perfectly suited for Advent reflection on the socio-political climate of our nation and the world: [God] has granted that we should be rescued from the powers of our enemies so that we could serve [God] without fear. It proclaims that God has guided and will continue to guide us and shape us as people of the Way of justice and peace.


Grace-full God, we long for a more faithful perspective for living in this season and in this age. We pray and sing, "Maranatha! Come, now, O Holy One." Through your gift of Jesus, may we be awake and responsive to the ways you are guiding us in faithful witness and service.

Roger DowdyRoger Dowdy
Deacon, The United Methodist Church
CROSS-PATHS Ministries
Richmond, VA

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