I'm reading through the Gospels lately, and I'm only to Luke, which I've just started. Really. I'm reading the very first chapter when I find myself laughing out loud. Here's what happens:
Zechariah, a very old priest, whose wife is infertile (she's very old, too), is working in the Temple. It was his turn to light incense and do the chores and stuff. I still don't understand all of that. He's back there in the back, burning incense, when an angel shows up and tells him his wife's going to have a baby. Okay, first the angel tells him not to be afraid - it's what all angels do. Tells him all the important stuff about the kid and his upbringing, what his ultimate purpose in life is, etc. I'm wishing, about this time, for an angel visit so I could know MY ultimate purpose in life. All very cool stuff. I find my mind drifting, wondering, because Zechariah and Elizabeth are so old, who raised the little guy when they kicked off.
Then Zechariah has the nerve to say, "How can I know this will happen? I'm old! My wife is old!" What the freak? An angel shows up and tells you something and you question him? And you call your wife OLD? I don't think so. That's so male, doing that out of her hearing. She found out - you know she did. And the angel, all indignant, says, "I am Gabriel! ... you won't be able to speak until the child is born."
Now I'm thinking, Zechariah has to be hating life. First of all, he can't talk, second of all, he has to listen to his wife - his now pregnant after all these years wife - talk without being able to interrupt. For nine months. Then the baby arrives and he STILL can't talk. Eight days after the birth, at the circumcision ceremony, the baby has to be named. Everyone's telling Elizabeth, "You're naming him Zechariah, right?" She sets them straight, telling them the boy is named John. Everyone freaks out, yelling at her about no one in the family being named John, blah, blah, blah. You have those relatives, right? I do. "Why on earth did you name him THAT?" Like I really needed to hear that, when I thought it was a perfectly lovely name. Thanks for the complex, people.
Here's where I really did laugh out loud. And I quote: "So they asked the baby's father, communicating to him by making gestures." First of all, he can't talk, but he can darn well HEAR, people. It's like yelling at a blind person. OMG!!! That was just too funny, envisioning everyone motioning to Zechariah instead of just asking. Stupid relatives.
But then Z wrote down "His name is John" and he could talk. He started spouting poetry, which is alright (I'm not a big poetry fan). One line melted my heart. He's praising God, telling what all is going to happen, then he talks about his boy. He says, "And you, my little son", then goes on to tell what God will do through his boy. That one line took me off guard. I always think of John the Baptist as this wild man in camel skins, honey in his beard, fiery eyes. I never think of him as someone's little son. But his daddy did. It's the sweetest thing ever.
I haven't gotten to the second chapter yet. I know the rest of the story, but I love hearing the different perspectives of the four authors. Like hearing eye witness accounts from four different people at the scene of an accident. Everyone's is the same, but different. And I know what happens to John. It also hit me this morning, for the first time, that Zechariah's name was never passed on through John. I'm guessing not at all, since I'm sure John was an only child. Even knowing John's mission, his purpose and goal, I couldn't help but feel a little sad for his parents. I mean, I'm guessing they were dead by the time he reached 30, but still. *sigh* Thinking like a mom again.
Thanks for putting up with me today. And please keep an eye out for my little cows? I'm starting to think they might have run away - I can't find them anywhere and it's making me nervous. They're so fragile! I'm about ready to put out a reward for whoever finds them.
Until I write again ...