I was talking with a dear friend yesterday about all sorts of things and one of them was our journey home; there are times when all of us find ourselves not knowing which way to turn in our faith journey. It could be due to doubt; it could be due to distractions; or even excitement. It is natural, as humans we need guidance – the effects of original sin cloud our perception.
This morning as I was praying Lauds (Morning Prayer) and the Benedictus struck me as it never had before. It is a prayer that is always prayed during Lauds and most of you will recognize it as the ‘Canticle of Zechariah’; his joyful proclamation at the birth of his son John the Baptist. I believe the church places it in Morning Prayer to help us with, among other things, just these types of moments of indecision and doubt. It is powerful and it exudes a peace and joy that should follow us throughout the day. The first part is a joyful proclamation of God’s love for us and why we shouldn’t feel lonely; this is followed by a reassurance that we can live as His people and know his protection. It ends with a call to action and a guarantee that His love and guidance is with us always! What a wonderful prayer to enter into our day, the next day in the journey home.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow
of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.