Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.
Nine months before the birth of John, his father Zechariah, a priest, let some words of doubt slip regarding his wife bearing a child. Because of this, he was not allowed to speak for the duration of Elizabeth's pregnancy (Elizabeth received two blessings on this day - the news that she would bear a son and the gift of a husband that would not be able to speak for nine months) :-)
This baby, whom we know as John the Baptist, would serve an important purpose - to prepare the way for the Messiah. The Baptizer declares the message of promise, strength and hope. His cry is constant and uninhibited. He speaks of justice and righteousness, preparing the way for the Messiah. Indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.
About the Art:
St. John the Baptist is believed to be Leonardo da Vinci's final piece created some time between 1513-1516. One notices that St. John is looking at the observer impressively, declaring his identity by means of gestures and gazes. Many people are critical of this work, finding it a disturbing representation of a character normally portrayed as gaunt and fiery, living in a desert and surviving on a diet of locusts and honey.
In this painting we see a figure emerging from encircling darkness holding a reed cross and wearing animal skin. An examination of this painting reveals the obvious lack of background. One suggestion for why da Vinci chose to approach the subject in this way is because he wanted to focus on the spiritual side of the topic and the presentation was designed to emphasis the saint's isolation.
About the Music:
Ordinary Time is an independent folk acoustic trio rooted in the Christian tradition. They present extraordinarily rich vocal harmonies, skillful instrumentation, and thought-provoking lyrics. The band's oeuvre seamlessly weaves the hymns of generations past with their own new songs - often indistinguishably - producing a sound that ranges from bluegrass-tinged Americana to sacred harp hymn arrangements.
Grounded in tradition, innovative in expression, and mature in musicianship, Ordinary Time offers an important and unique voice, gifting us with enduring tunes for the journey of faith.
Hear Now, You House of David is found on their In the Town of David album.
Hear Now, You House of David Lyrics:
Hear now you house of David
A promise from your God
I am sending one to dwell among you
Emmanuel, the Lord
He who spoke all of creation
Is from a virgin born
He whom angels worship in glory
A child in Bethlehem
La la la...
Praise and thanks to the Father
And to the Holy Ghost
And to him who came among us
To teach us how to love
La la la...
*You can find more of their music on their website: http://www.ordinarytimemusic.com/