Advent 1, Thursday, Year B

Inspired by Zechariah 13:1-9

“On that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.” Zechariah 13:1 (NRSV)

You see them on the news: people who have survived something terrible. An earthquake, a hurricane, an act of war or terrorism. They’re covered in dirt, sweat, and blood—their own or someone else’s—and the means to wash and change into clean clothes are not readily available. So instead they continue to be coated with a visible reminder of what they’ve been through, and they remain marked as what they now are: survivors. How glorious when they finally have access to a good shower and a fresh set of clothes! The memories are still there, but now they can begin to put the trauma behind them and move forward with their lives.

We are just as coated with our sinfulness as an earthquake survivor is coated with dirt and debris. No matter how hard we try to cover it up or ignore it, it’s there, an almost visible reminder of those things we’ve done that we wish we hadn’t, owning us and marking us as sinners and limiting us in what we can do. But through the prophet Zechariah God promised a fountain for his people to cleanse us from our sin, and to give us a new identity as his people. By the fast-flowing waters of God’s holy fountain we are washed clean, renewed in spirit, and freed to be the people God created us to be.

Let us pray. Lord God, you sent your Son to redeem us from our sin. Cleanse us from all unrighteousness, that we may serve you with the gifts you have so graciously given us. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

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