John the Baptist

Let us pray (in silence) [that we, like John the Baptist, prepare for the advent of Christ]


God our strength and our hope,
grant us the courage of John the Baptist,
constantly to speak the truth,
boldly to rebuke vice
and patiently to suffer for the truth's sake;

in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit
one God now and for ever.

NZPB p. 652

John the Baptiser has his birth feast day six months prior to Christmas eve, on June 24. This celebration is one of the oldest, if not the oldest commemorating a saint. The celebration of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, August 29, is nearly as old as his nativity. In the renewed Church Year and lectionary, John the Baptiser is a central figure in the second and third Sundays in Advent.

In Advent 2 Year C (2007) the Gospel reading concludes "and all flesh shall see the salvation of God." (Luke 3:6). This starts as a familiar quote from the Hebrew Bible, Isaiah 40:3-5. But it is the Septuagint , not the Hebrew Bible that Luke is quoting. "Salvation of God" is not in the Hebrew Bible as we have it. "Salvation of God" is, of course, Jesus' name. The underlying Hebrew is the feminine word yeshu'ah. Jesus' name is Yeshua'. And all flesh shall see yeshu'ah...

Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptiser) is immersing on the far side of the Jordan - the East bank (John 10:40 - Bethany East of the Jordan is different to the Bethany near Jerusalem). Yeshua (Joshua/Jesus) crosses the Jordan from East to West into God's promised land with the words of Yochanan's cry for justice still ringing in the air... Might the authorities be reminded of an earlier Yeshua/Joshua and his similar crossing of this river? Are we...

The collect is based on the newly written collect for BCP 1549 for the feast of St John the Baptist:

ALMIGHTIE God, by whose providence thy servaunte John Baptiste was wonderfully borne, and sente to prepare the way of thy sonne our saviour, by preaching of penaunce; make us so to folowe his doctrine and holy lyfe, that we may truely repent accordyng to his preachyng; and after his example constantly speake the trueth, boldly rebuke vice, and paciently suffre for the truethes sake; through Jesus Christ our Lorde.

CofE's Common Worship retains a closer version of this collect for 24 June:

Almighty God,
by whose providence your servant John the Baptist
was wonderfully born,
and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Saviour
by the preaching of repentance:
lead us to repent according to his preaching
and, after his example,
constantly to speak the truth, boldly to rebuke vice,
and patiently to suffer for the truth's sake;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
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