For the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist:
By all Your saints in warfare,
For all Your saints at rest,
Your holy name, O Jesus,
Forevermore be blest!
For You have won the battle
That they might wear the crown;
And now they shine in glory
Reflected from Your throne.
We praise You for the Baptist,
Forerunner of the Word,
Our true Elijah, making
A highway for the Lord.
The last and greatest prophet,
He saw the dawning ray
Of light that grows in splendor
Until the perfect day.
And worship God the Son
And sing to God the Spirit,
Eternal Three in One,
Till all the ransomed number
Fall down before the throne,
Ascribing pow’r and glory
And praise to God alone. Lutheran Service Book #518, verses 1, 18, and 3
And a bonus canticle, from the service of Morning Prayer, based on the Song of Zechariah in Luke 1:68-79:
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
He has come to His people and redeemed them.
He has raised up for us a mighty Savior,
born of the house of His servant David.
Through His holy prophets He promised of old
that He would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember His holy covenant.
This was the oath He swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship Him without fear,
holy and righteous in His sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare His way,
to give His people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God,
the dawn from on high shall break upon us
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Today, we take a break from Pentecost, and even get a little taste of Advent in the summer!
From the Treasury of Daily Prayer:
St. John the Baptizer, the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, was born into a priestly family. His birth was miraculously announced to his father by an angel of the Lord (Luke 1:5-23), and on the occasion of his birth, his aged father proclaimed a hymn of praise (Luke 1:67-79). This hymn is entitled the Benedictus and serves as the traditional Gospel Canticle in the Church’s Service of Morning Prayer. Events of John’s life and his teaching are known from accounts in all four of the Gospels. In the wilderness of Judea, near the Jordan River, John began to preach a call to repentance and a baptismal washing, and he told the crowds, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). John denounced the immoral life of the Herodian rulers, with the result that Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee, had him arrested and imprisoned in the huge fortress of Machaerus near the Dead Sea. There Herod had him beheaded (Mark 6:17-29). John is remembered and honored as the one who with his preaching pointed to “the Lamb of God” and “prepared the way” for the coming of the Messiah.
Today’s readings were about the Baptism of Jesus. It was interesting, because we actually read the accounts from Matthew 3:11-17, Mark 6-11, and Luke 3:21-22, and I always find it fascinating to compare what the Evangelists wrote that was the same, and what was different. It’s also interesting to see how some of the events were recorded in a much more concise fashion, while some were more descriptive. Each reading also began, (where applicable), before the actual baptism story, and shared a little information about John the Baptist, and his words of prophecy about Christ, the One “whose sandals [John was] not worthy to carry,” or “untie.” The symbol for these readings is a dove, representing the Holy Spirit, Who came bodily down from Heaven at the Baptism, and, along with the voice of God the Father, marks a rare instance in the Bible when all three Persons of the Godhead are mentioned together in the same place.
As a follow-up to yesterday’s reading about Zechariah and Elizabeth, today we read about their son, John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1-12). We covered a lot of information, from prior to his birth through Jesus’s baptism. The children’s (and my!) favorite part of the reading, though, was when John jumped in Elizabeth’s womb at the presence of Christ in Mary’s womb. It’s such a small part of the passage, but so very cool, seeing the Holy Spirit work even in an unborn child. What a conversation Elizabeth and Mary must have had!