Dec. 7, 2022.
This time of year my heart is drawn to the incarnation stories. I don’t know why, but I usually skip the Zacharias & Elizabeth story and jump forward to Mary and Joseph. And yet it is such a necessary thing to start the advent story where Luke did. Young Mary was about to enter a twilight zone type experience involving angels, an unexplainable pregnancy, scandal, and an undeserved disturbance in her engagement. She needed some large doses of reality to help her process all of the mystical occurrences and become a willing participant in the unexplainable and impossible plan of incarnation. Heaven presupposed her emotional need and sent her to her cousin Elizabeth, who had experienced similar impossibilities, and was now six months pregnant. For Elizabeth it all started one unassuming day when her husband Zacharias, a priest, took his shift at the temple. While there an angel appeared and told him that his wife would bear a child and he was to call him John. Zacharias struggled with the details of this message, after all his wife was old and barren, and the name John was a departure from the family name. Given his doubts, the angel caused him to become mute until the baby was born. But during Elizabeth’s pregnancy young Mary arrived, and was told of the infant John leaping within Elizabeths womb at Mary’s arrival, of the angel visitation, of Zacharias’ muteness, and then of the unexplainable pregnancy. This was exactly what Mary needed – to hear a ‘real-time’ story that was similar to the mystical and unexplainable and impossible events that were now happening to her.
We must pause to remember that the way Jesus came to this earth was not, and will never be, a logical story. It pushes the boundaries of reason. And as Christian leaders we have been called to lead the ongoing ripples of this gospel story. We have been asked to engage in the unexplainable and help usher in downloads from heaven that are flatly impossible from time to time. Faith by nature has an illogical component to it. And being a leader in the Faith has an illogical component as well. But rest assured, heaven will pre-suppose our need for some ‘real-time’ examples like was done for Mary. My father once told me, “Be sure to read the biography’s of Men and Women of God on a regular basis. In so doing you will be in the company of those who had to trust God deeply and take large steps of faith. You will find this to be very encouraging throughout your days and the faith steps you will be asked to take.” I have remembered my fathers words often. And I am glad I took his advice, because the unexplainable and the impossible have both arrived at my door numerous times. It is the way of the gospel…oh servant of God!
Blessings & Boldness,
Dr. Verlon and Melodee Fosner have led a multi-site Assemblies of God Dinner Church in Seattle, Washington since 1999 (www.CommunityDinners.com). In this decade when more churches in the U.S. are declining than thriving, and when ninety-six churches a week are closing, Verlon and Melodee sensed that a different way of doing church was needed for their 100-year old Seattle congregation. It soon became obvious that they were not the only ones in need of a different path. They joined the FX team in 2016 and founded the Dinner Church Collective. And then in 2019 founded the Dinner Church School of Leadership. There is a lot to be gained when church leaders begin to see open doors in the American landscape that they had previously overlooked. Therein lies the journey for those who will forge a new future for the American Church.