Eulogy for Saint John the Baptist

John the Baptizer
John who’d lept in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary came near
John who’d baptized by the River Jordan
John, who when seeing Jesus exclaimed
“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”
The first Old Testament prophet in 400 years
Calling Israel to repentance
Calling them to look for Messiah
and like Elijah, calling out the sins of the King

John, baptizing Jesus at his insistence while exclaiming
“I need to be baptized by you”
John, who said “He must increase, I must decrease”
Who was thrown into Jail by Herod
John, who asked Jesus
“Are you the one-or do we seek another yet to come…”
John, who was put to death
because of a king’s debaucherous and drunken diversion

Of whom Jesus said
“What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes! And more than that…”

The powers of this world never understand the anointing of God.
To them they seem foolish, crazy, inconsequential…

Such was John:
Walking about in a rough shirt made of animal hair and eating locusts and honey
Yet the foolish things of God confound the wise
And that which seems insignificant to the world of influencers
is of great significance to the Kingdom of God.
John performed no miracles
Yet his calling to Israel for repentance was truly miraculous

John considered
A Pearl of Great Price
And sold everything to have it.
He considered the Treasure hidden in the field
And bought the farm to obtain it.

He was humble
He was God’s mule
Doing the work he’d been harnessed to do.
He was a dollar in God’s pocket to spend however God saw fit
And God spent him well.

At the same time
the world was not worthy of him as he wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves…
“Prepare ye the way of the Lord,
Make straight his paths
Every mountain will be brought low
And every valley filled
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.”

John was the forerunner of the kingdom
exclaiming that the messiah was coming!
A herald with a message

And in many ways
He is the example of what the church is to be today…

In a few weeks we’ll begin the season of Advent
We look back to Jesus’ 1st coming
The baby in a manger
Who for us and our salvation
Came down from heaven and became a man
By the power of the Holy Spirit
Born unto the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate
Was crucified, died, was buried
And on the 3rd day he rose again in accordance with scripture…

In Advent we remember Jesus’ 1st coming
But we also look forward to his second coming
As a victorious King of a Kingdom
Where every wrong is made right
And every tear is wiped away
And where God has made for himself a people
From every tribe and tongue and nation…

And like John
we live in between the times
Of what has been and what will be

And WE the church are like John the Baptist
We are a voice of one crying in the wilderness
“Prepare the way of the Lord”
Make straight a pathway to your heart!

Let’s Pray
Almighty God,
by your providence your servant John the Baptist
was wonderfully born,
and sent to prepare the way of our Lord
by the preaching of repentance:
lead us to repent according to his preaching
And example,
May your church be constant to speak the truth,
Even boldly when necessary, like John,
and patient to suffer for the truth’s sake when necessary;
And may we take joy in proclaiming the coming
Advent of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
Who will come again.
Keep your church
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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