Today, June 24th, is the birthday of St John the Baptist. This great biblical figure is an inspiration to us all as one whose entire life signposts us towards Christ.
We see this Christ-like focus in his teaching and preaching especially, and in Advent and Lent John encourages us to ‘make straight the way of the Lord’: sweep away all that we can see, in our most honest moments, that is hindering the growth of the Kingdom within us.
In his death too, John offers all of himself to the Kingdom project, speaking truth to power. It is the effects of a party game gone wrong which leads to his violent death brought about by jealousy and malice.
This feast, as the church celebrates John’s birth, is resonant for me of ordinations to the priesthood. When I was a curate in Leigh-on-Sea, my training incumbent, Fr Robin, was ordained on this day, 42 years ago now (I think). Whilst in his natural humility he never made a great fuss of this, whenever the day comes around I think of him, and all Christ continues to do in him, and am filled with gratitude for his influence upon me.
Ordination fever us in the air of course. It was a joy to witness Mthr Mitzi’s ordination last Saturday, and to be with her on the occasion of her first celebration of the Eucharist the following day. What a joy it is to see a new priest behind the altar of our church, and we look forward to her continued ministry in the years ahead.
At the start of July, Patricia will be ordained Deacon in St Paul’s , and whilst her burgeoning ministry will then grow in Edmonton, she will, of course, always remain a doughter of Hornsey Parish Church.
And this year, on 14th July (Bastille Day you will recall) I celebrate 20 years as a priest. I will be presiding (assuming events allow this) at the Eucharist in our church at 11am that day, and then at 7pm at St Mary’s Tower on the same day. I hope you will join me either in person, or online in the morning, to accompany me in expressing thanks to God for his call to this very privileged and rewarding life. Maybe we might even raise a glass afterwards!
With the assurance of my prayers