When John F. Kennedy conferred honorary American citizenship on Winston Churchill in 1963, he paid tribute to Churchill’s oratory as decisive in rallying the Allies against Hitler. “He mobilized the English language,” said Kennedy, “and sent it into battle.”
A similar characterization could be made of John the Baptist and his no-nonsense message to turn from evil, seek God’s forgiveness, and prepare for the coming of the One who will make all things new. As prominent 20th Century Episcopal preacher and teacher Walter Russell Bowie pointed out, “the baptism which John performed for those who were moved by what he said was the consequence of his preaching… His whole ministry was in the power of the spoken word.”
This coming Sunday, you’ll hear St. Luke reiterate the history-making moment of the Baptist’s arrival: “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee…” Such was John’s significance in mobilizing language to prepare the way for Jesus.
Like John, our mission is to prepare the way—so that anyone who walks through our doors or tunes in online or meets us in a grocery aisle can be touched by Jesus’ loving presence in our midst. And no, you don’t have to be a great orator or preacher to convey that blessing. We each have our love language. Maybe yours is music, which resounds Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. Evensongs, every Sunday at the 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eucharists, and this Sunday at 4 p.m. Advent Lessons and Carols.”. Or perhaps hospitality—also this Sunday, at 11:30 over lunch at CCC 101, an introduction to parish life and ministry for newcomers and long-timers alike. Or maybe your inspiration is serving people in need, as you can do any Sunday at our 7 a.m. community breakfast.
Join us. Let your love language speak—with or without words.
—The Rev. Canon Tom Kryder-Reid