The Christian Church remembers St. John the Baptist on his ‘birthday,’ June 24, and also on the commemoration of his death, August 29.
Lord God, dearest Father,
through St. John the Baptist
you have pointed us all
to our one true comfort,
that Jesus Christ, Son of Mary,
is the true Lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world.
May we always rejoice in his preaching
and find our comfort in it,
and finally receive eternal blessedness
with John the Baptist and all believers;
through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Herr Gott, lieber Vater, der du durch den heiligen Taufer Johannen, uns Allen zu Trost hast bezeugen lassen, daß Jesus Christus, Marien Sohn, das wahre unschuldige Lamm Gottes sei, welches der ganzen Welt Sünde tragen sollte; gib uns, daß wir allezeit solches seines Zeugnisses uns von Herzen freuen und trösten und endlich mit Johanne dem Täufer und allen Gläubigen die ewige Seligkeit erlangen mögen, durch den selbigen deinen Sohn, u.
Augustine was a bishop who lived in Hippo, a city in North Africa on the Mediterranean. He came to faith and was baptized at age 31 after living a wild life and even spending some time in the Manichaean cult. He became one of the most influential writers in the early church and is considered one of the great ‘Doctors of the Church.’ The Christian Church remembers Augustine on August 28.
Hear, Lord, my prayer;
do not let my soul faint under your discipline,
do not let me faint in confessing to you all your mercies,
for you have drawn me out of all my most evil ways,
that you might be my delight
above all the allurements which I once pursued;
that I may most entirely love you,
and clasp your hand with all my affections,
so that you may still rescue me from every temptation,
even to the end.
For lo, O Lord, my King and my God,
I give for your service whatever useful thing my childhood learned,
that I speak, write, read, reckon for your service.
For you granted me your discipline,
while I was learning vanities;
and my sin of delighting in those vanities you have forgiven.
On August 24 the Christian Church remembers St. Bartholomew. The Mozarabic prayer refers to Jesus’ great commission to all his disciples at the end of the Gospel of Mark (Mark 16:16-18).
the Power of God,
and the Wisdom of God,
you gave your holy apostle
power to tread on serpents and scorpions.
Strengthen us by your grace,
that in your might
we may vanquish and overcome
all our spiritual enemies,
and with pure hearts serve you,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
we worship and glorify you,
one God, now and forever.
On August 15, the Christian Church remembers Mary, the Mother of Our Lord. The prayer from the Pomeranian Agenda emphasizes her humility. Her answer to the annunciation was, “May it be to me as you have said.” In her Magnificat, she sang, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior… …The Lord has looked with favor on his lowly servant.”
Lord God, heavenly Father,
we thank you for all your benefits,
physical and spiritual,
that you so richly have poured out on us.
By the example of the dear virgin Mary,
protect us against arrogance and false security,
that no wisdom, strength or power
can help those who do not fear you.
Give us, rather, true humility and holy fear,
so that we may hold on to your Word,
always remain in your mercy and blessing
and finally be saved;
through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Jesus, help us
as we work to sing your praise,
not just for beauty,
but for the instruction
and edification of our neighbor
with the message of your holy Gospel.
We give thanks
for the many artists,
musicians and poets
who keep your Word
before our eyes
and in our ears.
Even though many of them
now enjoy the eternal pleasure
of singing your praise
at your right hand,
their songs of praise to you
are still heard here on earth.
When we make music,
help us to put away
all thoughts of competition,
jealousy, and glory for ourselves.
Instead, turn our thoughts to
doing all of our work,
striving for excellence,
bearing your message,
and making all of our music
to the glory of God alone.
On July 25 the Christian Church remembers St. James the Elder. He was the first of the twelve apostles to die for preaching about Christ (See Acts 12:1-2).
Grant, O Lord,
that as your holy apostle Saint James,
as soon as he was called,
left the ship and his father,
and followed your Son Jesus Christ with all his heart,
so we may always willingly and gladly
obey your commandments;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Jan Hus (John Huss) was burned at the stake on July 6, 1415. About a hundred years before Luther, Hus was defending the authority of Scripture, and declaring that where the Word is, the true church is. According to legend, when he was about to be executed he said, “Today you roast a goose. (Hus is the Bohemian word for goose.) But in a hundred years a swan will sing whom you will not be able to silence.” A few of his prayers from the time of his execution have been preserved for us:
Lord Jesus Christ, I wish to bear most patiently and humbly for your Gospel’s sake and the preaching of your Word, this dire, ignominious, and cruel death.
Have mercy on me, O God, and in you, O Lord, do I put my trust.
O Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me.