Thursday, June 23, 2011

He Must Increase, but I Must Decrease: The Life of John the Baptist

In the Life of the Church, we celebrate the Nativity of John the Baptist on June 24th. Born to righteous parents, Ss Elizabeth & Zachariah in their elder age, John's mission in life was to proclaim and announce the coming of the Messiah.

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"He must increase, but I must decrease"; this verse taken from the Gospel according to St John the Theologian (3:30) quoting St John the Forerunner and Baptist of our Lord is a beautifully stated and essential reminder for all Christians. He is explaining to his followers the fulfillment of his ministry in proclaiming the good news of the coming of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ into the world.

St John calls himself the "friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears Him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice.  "Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled" (John 3:29).  What a remarkable example of the love of God and understanding of one's purpose in life!

Our Lord says of John, "For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist, but he who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he" (Luke 7:28).

I recently read an amazing book reflecting on the life and purpose of St John the Baptist entitled The Friend of the Bridegroom: On the Orthodox Veneration of the Forerunner by Sergius Bulgakov.  I strongly encourage you to read it as well.

Through the prayers of the Forerunner, O Lord our God, have mercy upon us!

- A Day in the Life of the Youth Director

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