When John's mother, Elizabeth, was six months pregnant she travelled to visit her kinswoman, Mary.
The scriptures tell us that when Elizabeth met Mary, the child in her womb leapt with joy in recognition of the presence of the Divine Saviour.
Elizabeth spoke out with a loud voice, saying,
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"
"For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah thought that they were too old to have children. Zechariah was told by an angel, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John."
Zechariah did not believe the angel and asked for a sign from God. The sign came - he was struck dumb and could not speak until after he confirmed that his newborn son would be called 'John'.
It was then that Zechariah, filled with the spirit, made this prophesy about his son:
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people,
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we should be saved from our enemies,
and from the hand of all who hate us;
to perform the mercy promised to our fathers,
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath which he swore to our father Abraham,
to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
through the tender mercy of our God,
when the day shall dawn upon us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Luke 1: 68-79
Musicians and artists have been inspired by these words for more than 2000 years. There were was much to rejoice about at the birth of John the Baptist and the birth of Jesus. Musicians, writers and artists have been inspired by events recounted throughout the scriptures.
Our Kirk choir and organist lead the congregation with hymns and anthems throughout the year.
How many musicians can you find illustrated in windows and carvings around the Kirk?
Here are just a few to get you started...
Watch out for our series of Music in the Kirk which, together with the Perth Festival of the Arts concerts, and our regular Carillion Recitals make full use of the excellent acoustic of the Kirk.