John Hartley - June 2019

posted 25 Jun 2019, 04:18 by Richard Jones

Dear Friends

The Anglican Church keeps 24th June as The Birth of St John the Baptist. ‘There was man sent from God, whose name was John. He came to bear witness to the light.’ John 1.6-7.

The great fact about John was that he knew what his mission was and he was content to fulfil it. He sought no greater office and sought no greater reward, than that of doing the work to which he had been called. He prepared for the coming of Christ and, as a signpost, he pointed the way to Christ.

His task was one of both privilege and responsibility. His modesty was outstanding, as was his candid truthfulness. He was content to be the forerunner, bluntly declaring (to avoid any confusion by his hearers) ‘I am not the Christ.’ All in all he knew what his life’s work was, and he was content to fulfil. He looked for nothing further.

John’s ministry was marked by three things: prayer, preaching and perseverance.

Prayer must have been important to him for God to have spoken to him as he did. Doubtless he (like us) would have wrestled in prayer with God, in the wilderness. Prayer was clearly the secret of John’s life and of his strength. For us, too, a strong prayer life is essential if we are to carry out God’s tasks.

John had a message to proclaim and to preach. He was enthusiastic about it. He confronted people with his oratory. Even provocatively, he spoke to everyone. We may not have the powerful words, but, with a deep conviction and a degree of enthusiasm, both by speech and action, our witness can be worthy of the God we proclaim to believe in and dutifully serve.

Although John’s ministry was cut short, from a dark and dank prison he sent his followers to Jesus for confirmation of his belief: ‘Are you the Christ?’ The answer Christ gave satisfied him and he persevered right to the end. We too, in the darker moments of life, when God seems to be very far away – dare I say we feel forgotten – must try to struggle through with all our grit and determination.

We thank God for John the Baptist. We pray that we may share his strength and courage in our own smaller, but nevertheless important lives. We are privileged to witness to Christ where we live and work, but with all privileges there is a degree of responsibility too. Do we realise that ? Privilege and responsibility go hand in hand !

With every blessing

John Hartley

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