Nativity of John the Baptist

 

John the Baptist is considered a precursor of Jesus, and his birth, as described in the Gospel of Luke, was miraculous.

John's parents were Zechariah and Elizabeth, a devout childless couple, and both were beyond child-bearing years. One day as Zechariah was serving in the Temple in Jerusalem, the Archangel Gabriel appeared before him, and announced that he and his wife would have a son, whom they should name John. Further, he was told that this boy would be a great prophet, and announce the Messiah, as predicted by prophecy. Zechariah, not believing what he had heard, was struck speechless. However, he went home, and he and Elizabeth conceived a child at last.

Fearing mockery for being pregnant so late in life, Elizabeth kept her condition secret for five months. Then her kinswoman, Mary, came to visit. Elizabeth was the first to greet the Virgin Mary as the Mother of God. Indeed, when Mary entered the room, Elizabeth felt her own baby move for the first time. Elizabeth gave birth, and Zechariah, still unable to speak, wrote that he should be named John. Immediately he regained the power of speech, and he told everyone what Gabriel had communicated months before - his son John would be the Forerunner of the Lord.

Following the birth of Jesus six months later, King Herod gave orders to kill all male infants. Elizabeth took her baby and hid in a cave, while Zechariah stayed in Jerusalem to do his duties at the Temple. When asked where his wife and child were, Zechariah insisted that he did not know, and was killed on the spot. Elizabeth and John continued to live in the wilderness until she sickened and died, leaving John to be protected by an angel. According to Luke, John grew, and "was in the wilderness until the day of his showing to Israel."

All of the Gospels refer to John preaching and baptising people beside the Jordan river, in the wilderness of Judea. He called upon people to repent of their sins, be baptised, mend their ways, and prepare for the Kingdom of God. He spoke of one greater than himself that would come after.

Eventually Jesus came to be baptised, and John told his followers "This is the man I spoke of." After his baptism, Jesus began to preach, and some of John's followers left him to join Jesus. John said, "This is as it should be. My mission is to proclaim the Christ. . . He must increase, and I must decrease."

John continued to preach, reproving sin and calling on everyone to repent. Eventually he got into trouble for criticizing King Herod Antipas' marriage, and was beheaded.

 

 


 

Our guest Preacher for The Nativity of Staint John the Baptist will be The Rev. Rachel Kessler. She is Chaplain at Kenyon College and the Priest-in-charge of Harcourt Parish Episcopal Church in Gambier, Ohio. Rachel is a former St Thomas's parishioner and was sponsored by the parish as she pursued ordination and a divinity degree at Wycliffe College. She returns with her husband and former Saint Thomas sexton, Leeman and their two children, Amanda and Martin.

 

9:30 Sung Eucharist (Book of Alternative Services rite)

Choral music to be decided

 

11:00 am Solemn Eucharist (Book of Common Prayer rite)

Choral music to be decided

 

7:00 pm - Evensong & Devotions

Choral music to be decided