“The whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense” (Luke 1:10).
While Zechariah is in the temple, burning incense and having his angelic encounter, Luke tells us that lots of people were outside praying. And praying. And praying. And praying. And finally someone wonders, “What’s taking him so long?” Someone else asks, “What’s he doing in there?” Maybe another said, “I hope nothing happened to him!”
So what could have happened? What might go wrong when a priest enters the holy place of the temple to burn incense on the altar?
- Did he pass out, overcome by the smoke?
- Was he having trouble getting the incense to catch fire?
- Was this his first time, so it took a little longer?
- Did he drop it and have to get some more incense to burn?
Any number of things can happen when you are serving at the altar of God. It’s good to have a multitude of people praying for you! A priest – or a pastor – never does his thing apart from the people. It’s not a thing until we are together! The gathered, praying, faithful people of God are always a part of the advent of our Lord.
I always thank God for those who come to listen to me preach. Without you, I wouldn’t have much to do, would I?
Thank you, Lord, for our pastors who shepherd us. But thank you too, Lord, for all your people who gather to pray, praise and give you thanks. Amen.