The two major figures in this morning’s readings are King David and Zachariah, who got his voice back in yesterday’s gospel. They both have inspired messages for us on the same theme: the covenant with God lasts forever. Both of these men have reason to praise the faithfulness of God as second chances abound in their stories. David’s story reads like a novel, seesawing back and forth from favor to punishment back to favor as he makes horrible choices while growing in the knowledge and love of the God who continues to save him from himself. Finally, through Nathan the prophet, the message of God to David is a promise that was the proof of God’s fidelity through it all:
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.
Zachariah had doubted the promise God made to him and was struck dumb until his son was born and named. As we read today, he bursts forth at that moment with a song that is sung each morning by monks and others around the world. Zachariah’s Canticle is seen as a prophecy of the soon-to-be-birthed Messiah, a beautiful song that ends with a beautiful image for us:
In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
In God there is no linear time, only an eternal present. So today as we prepare for our celebration of the moment the promise was made to David and made to Zachariah and to Mary and Joseph and Paul and the “good thief” and all of the saints down through the ages in every land of every tradition, may we know deeply that this same promise is made to us. At every moment of our lives, God is faithful and God asks only recognition of that fierce, bonding love that is our saving grace.