June 2021 Letter

St. John the Baptizer

 

St. John the Baptizer, the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, was born into a priestly family. His nativity is celebrated each Church year on June 24th, six months before we celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord. John’s birth was miraculously announced to his father by an angel of the Lord while Zechariah was serving as a priest in the temple of Jerusalem (Luke 1:5-23).

When John was born, Zechariah proclaimed a hymn of praise (Luke 1:67-79) entitled the Benedictus (blessed be the Lord). The Benedictus serves as the traditional Gospel canticle in the Service of Morning Prayer, found on p. 226 in the Lutheran Service Book.

The events of John’s life and his teaching are recorded 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, especially the illegal marriage of King Herod Antipas to his brother Philip’s wife, Herodias. As a result, John was arrested and imprisoned in the huge fortress of Machaerus near the Dead Sea. It was here John was beheaded because Herodias held a fatal grudge against John’s denouncement of her illegal marriage to her brother-in-law (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.

Almighty God, through John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, You once proclaimed salvation. Now grant that we may know this salvation and serve You in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirt, one God, now and forever. Amen.

 

June Blessings!

 

Pastor David A. Feddern