Thursday, March 15, 2007

His Name is John

Zechariah the priest had been struck dumb for some nine months because he didn't believe the angel. Today's New Testament reading takes place after his son is born.
59On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60but his mother spoke up and said, "No! He is to be called John."

61They said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who has that name." 62Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone's astonishment he wrote, "His name is John."
Luke 1.59-62
Why is this conversation recorded? Elizabeth telling everyone the name, Zechariah writing it down, everybody else being shocked -- what's that all about? Here are a few things that strike me as unusual.
  • "They" didn't believe Elizabeth -- why?
  • They made signs to Zechariah; was he deaf, too? And if he were, why would they make signs, rather than writing something? What was the literacy rate I wonder?
  • Someone pointed out to me once that this suggests Elizabeth could read and write. Whatever the literacy rate was for the population in general, I guess it was lower for women.
  • Nobody else knew that Elizabeth could read?
Apparently Zech and Liz were more educated (i.e., able to read and write) than the "they" being described here.

Here's what I think about this: I think Zech and Liz were ahead of their time. It seems to me that Zech honored Liz; they had a level of communication, maybe intimacy, beyond the usual. I mean, she could read his writing, he obviously talked her into bed (without using his voice). But seriously, the bottom line is that she was an honored person in his life; she knew things that nobody knew she knew.

I think this is a great example to follow. If the two are to become "one flesh," then it's an honor for my spouse to know things nobody else knows -- or knows that she knows. Likewise it's an honor when my spouse tells me things that nobody else knows -- or knows I know. So I guess what I take from this is, it's a good thing to give and receive honor, back and forth, with my wife. May we pursue this and guard it against intruders.

written 3/15, posted 3/17

No comments: