Recorded Celebration Service for the Birth of St John the Baptist

You can view the service here or access directly using YouTube. The text for the service is written below, you can also download it as a PDF and print it or read it.

The Gathering

In the name of the Father,

and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.

All   Amen.

The Greeting

Grace, mercy and peace

from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ

be with you

All   and also with you.

Prayers of Penitence

John the Baptist proclaimed,

‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’

Matthew 3.2

Let us turn to the Lord in penitence and faith

and humbly confess our sin.


Lord Jesus, you stand among us, and we do not recognize you.     Lord, have mercy.

All     Lord, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, we are not worthy to untie the thong of your sandals. Christ, have mercy.

All     Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you are the Lamb of Godwho takes away the sin of the world.                                                                                                      Lord, have mercy.

All     Lord, have mercy.


Almighty God,

who forgives all who truly repent,

have mercy upon you,

pardon and deliver you from all your sins,

confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,

and keep you in life eternal;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All   Amen.


Gloria in Excelsis

All     Glory to God in the highest,

and peace to his people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly King,

almighty God and Father,

we worship you, we give you thanks,

we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,

Lord God, Lamb of God,

you take away the sin of the world:

have mercy on us;

you are seated at the right hand of the Father:

receive our prayer.

For you alone are the Holy One,

you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,

with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God the Father.



The Collect

The Birth of John the Baptist

Let us pray…

Almighty God,

by whose providence your servant John the Baptist

was wonderfully born,

and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Saviour

by the preaching of repentance:

lead us to repent according to his preaching

and, after his example,

constantly to speak the truth, boldly to rebuke vice,

and patiently to suffer for the truth’s sake;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


The Liturgy of the Word 


A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.


Comfort, O comfort my people,

    says your God.

Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,

    and cry to her

that she has served her term,

    that her penalty is paid,

that she has received from the Lord’s hand

    double for all her sins.


A voice cries out:

‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,

    make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Every valley shall be lifted up,

    and every mountain and hill be made low;

the uneven ground shall become level,

    and the rough places a plain.

Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,

    and all people shall see it together,

    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’


A voice says, ‘Cry out!’

    And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’

All people are grass,

    their constancy is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades,

    when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;

    surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades;

    but the word of our God will stand for ever.

Get you up to a high mountain,

    O Zion, herald of good tidings;[a]

lift up your voice with strength,

    O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,[b]

    lift it up, do not fear;

say to the cities of Judah,

    ‘Here is your God!’

See, the Lord God comes with might,

    and his arm rules for him;

his reward is with him,

    and his recompense before him.

He will feed his flock like a shepherd;

    he will gather the lambs in his arms,

and carry them in his bosom,

    and gently lead the mother sheep.


This is the word of the Lord.

All   Thanks be to God.


Gospel Reading

Alleluia, alleluia.

You, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High

for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways.

All   Alleluia.

The Lord be with you.

All   And also with you.

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

All   Glory to you, O Lord.

Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.

On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, ‘No; he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘None of your relatives has this name.’ Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbours, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, ‘What then will this child become?’ For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him. The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly to Israel.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

All   Praise to you, O Christ.


Prayers of Intercession

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ,

let us pray to the Father.


Lord God,

who promised Zechariah a son filled with the spirit and power of Elijah,

to prepare a people fit for the Lord:

we pray for reconciliation between all people.

Lord, hear us.

All   Lord, graciously hear us.


Lord God,

when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting

the baby leapt in her womb:

may she who believed your promise be blessed among women,

and may we proclaim with joy the good news of your Christ.

Lord, hear us.

All   Lord, graciously hear us.


Lord God,

at John’s birth Zechariah proclaimed he would be the prophet of the Most High:

we pray for all who preach the Good News,

Lord, hear us.

All   Lord, graciously hear us.



Lord God,

when your Son came to the Jordan and was baptized by John

he saw the heavens open and the Spirit descending as a dove:

may we who are baptized into your Church

faithfully proclaim in the world the words of your beloved Son.

Lord, hear us.

All     Lord, graciously hear us.


Lord God,

John proclaimed your Son as the Lamb of God

and John’s disciples followed Jesus:

help us to follow him also,

and by our words and deeds

to bring our families and friends closer to you.

Lord, hear us.

All   Lord, graciously hear us.


Lord God,

who sent John to witness to the light,

to be the voice of one crying in the wilderness

and to prepare the way of the Lord:

comfort your people

and bring your healing to the sick and needy,

to the broken-hearted and the oppressed,

to prisoners and captives.

Lord, hear us.

All   Lord, graciously hear us.


Lord God,

John preached the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins

and suffered imprisonment and death for proclaiming your Law:

we remember all who have died in your service,

joining our prayers with John the Baptist and all the saints;

grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.

Lord, hear us.

All   Lord, graciously hear us.


God our Father,

in your tender compassion

the dawn from on high has broken upon us.

Shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death

and guide our feet into the way of peace;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.


All   Amen.


The Liturgy of the Sacrament 

The Peace

The Lord God of Israel has come to his people to set them free

and to guide our feet into the way of peace.


The peace of the Lord be always with you

All   and also with you.

Preparation of the Table

God of our salvation,

as we praise you for your servant John the Baptist,

accept all we bring to you this day,

and free us to worship you without fear,

in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


The Eucharistic Prayer (A)

The Lord be with you

All   and also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

All   We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

All   It is right to give thanks and praise.





It is indeed right and good,

our duty and our salvation,

always and everywhere to give you thanks,

holy Father, almighty and eternal God,

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.

Among those born of women

you marked out John the Baptist with your special favour

as the one who prepared the way before your Son.

His birth brought great rejoicing;

even in the womb he leapt for joy, so near was our salvation.

Alone of all the prophets,

John hailed the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.

He baptized Jesus, the author of baptism,

in waters made holy by the one baptized.

By shedding his blood

he gave his last and greatest witness to your Son.

And so with angels and archangels

and all the heavenly host

we proclaim your glory

and join in their unending hymn of praise:

All     Holy, holy, holy Lord,

          God of power and might,

          heaven and earth are full of you glory

          Hosanna in the highest.

          Hosanna in he highest.

          Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

          Hosanna in the highest.

Accept our praises, heavenly Father,

through your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ,

and as we follow his example and obey his command,

grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit

these gifts of bread and wine

may be to us his body and his blood;

who, in the same night that he was betrayed,

took bread and gave you thanks;

he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:

Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;

do this in remembrance of me.


In the same way, after supper

he took the cup and gave you thanks;

he gave it to them, saying:

Drink this, all of you;

this is my blood of the new covenant,

which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this, as often as you drink it,

in remembrance of me.


Therefore, heavenly Father,

we remember his offering of himself

made once for all upon the cross;

we proclaim his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension;

we look for the coming of your kingdom,

and with this bread and this cup

we make the memorial of Christ your Son our Lord.


Great is the mystery of faith:

All     Christ has died:

Christ is risen:

Christ will come again.




Accept through him, our great high priest,

this our sacrifice of thanks and praise,

and as we eat and drink these holy gifts

in the presence of your divine majesty,

renew us by your Spirit,

inspire us with your love

and unite us in the body of your Son,

Jesus Christ our Lord.

Through him, and with him, and in him,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

with all who stand before you in earth and heaven,

we worship you, Father almighty,

in songs of everlasting praise:

All     Blessing and honour and glory and power

be yours for ever and ever.



The Lord’s Prayer

As our saviour has taught us, so we pray.

All     Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours

now and for ever.



Breaking of the Bread

The president breaks the consecrated bread.

We break this bread

to share in the body of Christ.

All     Though we are many, we are one body,

because we all share in one bread.


All     Lamb of God,

you take away the sin of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God,

you take away the sin of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God,

you take away the sin of the world,

grant us peace.


Jesus is the Lamb of God

who takes away the sin of the world.

Blessed are those who are called to his supper.

All     Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,

but only say the word, and I shall be healed.


Post Communion

The Birth of John the Baptist

Let us pray.


Merciful Lord,

whose prophet John the Baptist

proclaimed your Son as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world:

grant that we who in this sacrament have known your forgiveness and your life-giving love

may ever tell of your mercy and your peace;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


All     Amen.

Almighty God,

we thank you for feeding us

with the body and blood of your Son Jesus Christ.

Through him we offer you our souls and bodies

to be a living sacrifice.

Send us out

in the power of your Spirit

to live and work

to your praise and glory.



The Dismissal


The Lord be with you.

All  And also with you.


Through the tender compassion of our God

may the dawn from on high break upon you

and guide your feet into the way of peace.

And the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.

All   Amen.


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

All   In the name of Christ. Amen.




Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, material from which is included in this service, is copyright ©The Archbishops’ Council 2000