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25 Now a discussion about purification arose between John’s disciples and a Jew. 26They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27John answered,

“No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. 28You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ 29He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, re-joices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason, my joy has been fulfilled. 30He must increase, but I must decrease.” (St. John 3: 25-30)
     

      The above scripture, especially verse 30, is John the Baptist’s declaration that his calling as a preparer for God’s anointed one is coming to its close. John’s calling was to prepare the way and the calling ended when he declared to the crowd back in John 1:29 “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

 

     John the Baptist’s Feast day is June 24th exactly 6 months before the birth of Jesus. On our calendar this is the longest day of the year and from that point on the days begin getting shorter. Have you ever noticed?


     We as baptized members of the body of Christ are the John the Baptists of our time. We are to live our lives declaring Jesus and not ourselves. If our motivation in this life is self-declaration, then we have lost the gospel and replaced it with our own self-importance. John informs us in verse 27 that we receive nothing in this life unless it is sent from above. I don’t think most people live remembering this is how God guides us

in our lives. We sing in hymn 686:
 

                                                            We give Thee but Thine own,
                                                                                  Whate’er the gift may be;
                                                                             All that we have is Thine alone.
                                                                                 A trust, O Lord, from thee.

   

       I don’t think many actually understand the words in this hymn as saying we give back to God only that which we have received from God and God gave these things to us in trust to use for his will and his purpose for us and the world while we are journeying here on earth. John the Baptist understood all this.

      So can we decrease and let the love and grace of God shine through us as John the Baptist did? It is a hard thing for our egos to think about. To let someone including Jesus to have priority over our lives and all the things we do. To let the light of Jesus shine brighter than out own light. To let Jesus be the one who rules all our relationships in every aspect of our lives.
      John let God’s light and power shine through him and that is why he was successful in bringing others into faith or to renew their faith in God. It is God who sent the people to John at the Jordan River to be baptized and not John himself. Our success in this life is fully reliant on God, Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. We need to learn to listen to this blessed Trinity who has nothing but our wellbeing in this life and our salvation for the next life as their primary concern.
      So as summer approaches and some things in our lives slow down and we may be able to take vacation and relax, let us remember that as the days will be getting imperceptibly shorter, they will get shorter but the renewing love of God for the sake of Jesus on the cross will never shrink but remain stronger for each of us all day long whether the sun shines brightly for 14 hours or for 8 hours or even during the dark of night. The light of God’s love glows brightly and unceasingly before us on the path he has chosen for us in this life and the next.

 

Have a safe and blessed summer,

Pastor Flavia

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