Tuesday 07 December 2021

Bible Book:

Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. (vs 4-5)

Zechariah 8:1-8 Tuesday 7 December 2021

Psalm 56


Following on from the visions that Zechariah received (see yesterday), the prophet proclaims to the people a message inspired by God. In many ways it follows on from yesterday’s reading. It is focused on the renewal of Jerusalem as the city of God. It presents for us also an image of the wider kingdom of God, not restricted to any one geographical space.

If we had started our reading in the second half of chapter 7 (7:8-14), we would have been reminded of the ethical expectations on the people of God that had been ignored prior to the cataclysmic events of being conquered with many taken into exile. This is summed up as: "Render true judgements, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another." (Zechariah 7:9-10) Now the people have been saved by God from the exile they endured, it is thought they will remember this call of love and justice to the poorest and most vulnerable in society. We would do well to heed those expectations as well.

In this season of Advent it can be tempting to imagine the coming kingdom of God as some far-off ethereal vision, but the prophet Zechariah imagines it closer at hand and more earthly. The image is of the familiar streets of Jerusalem being renewed. There is a beautiful image of what this new reality will be like – as a place where the elderly can sit and watch the world go by, and children can safely tear up and down the lanes. We are reminded that, though this may seem an impossible dream by human standards, we are not to discount the action of God. The God who delivered them from exile is the same God in which people were to place their trust.

To Ponder:

    • What examples have you seen of the Church working to renew communities for the young, the old, and the vulnerable?
    • How should we reflect on the challenges in the Prophets, as well as the promises?


God of love and mercy, we pray for the communities where we live. We pray for the most vulnerable within them, especially during these winter months. Enable us to respond to them with compassion, and work for justice. Amen.

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