Feast of the Birth of St. John the Forerunner (Baptist)
 “To you, O men, I call,
and my cry is to the sons of men.
 O simple ones, learn prudence;
O foolish men, pay attention.
 Hear, for I will speak noble things,
and from my lips will come what is right;
 for my mouth will utter truth;
wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
 All the words of my mouth are righteous;
there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.
 They are all straight to him who understands
and right to those who find knowledge.
 Take my instruction instead of silver,
and knowledge rather than choice gold;
 for wisdom is better than jewels,
and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.
 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and ordinances that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.
 “Behold, I will send you Eli’jah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes.
 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.”
 A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
 Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
 And as John was finishing his course, he said, `What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’
 “Brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you that fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation.
 For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets which are read every sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning him.
 Though they could charge him with nothing deserving death, yet they asked Pilate to have him killed.
 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a tomb.
 But God raised him from the dead;
 and for many days he appeared to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people.
 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers,
 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, `Thou art my Son,
today I have begotten thee.’
 Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son.
 And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechari’ah after his father,
 but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.”
 And they said to her, “None of your kindred is called by this name.”
 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called.
 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all marveled.
 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.
 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea;
 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.
 And his father Zechari’ah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,
 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people,
 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
 that we should be saved from our enemies,
and from the hand of all who hate us;
 to perform the mercy promised to our fathers,
and to remember his holy covenant,
 the oath which he swore to our father Abraham,
 to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
 in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.
 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
 through the tender mercy of our God,
when the day shall dawn upon us from on high
 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of
death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness till the day of his manifestation to Israel.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America