The birth of John is foretold by an angel

Scriptures say that John’s parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, thought that they were too old now to have a child. The angel Gabriel’s message to Zechariah would have come as a shock.

The angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife Elizabeth will have a son, and you will name him John. He will be your pride and joy, and many people will be glad that he was born.  As far as the Lord is concerned, he will be a great man. He will never drink wine or any other liquor. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring many people in Israel back to the Lord their God. He will go ahead of the Lord with the spirit and power that Elijah had. He will change parents’ attitudes toward their children. He will change disobedient people so that they will accept the wisdom of those who have God’s approval. In this way he will prepare the people for their Lord.”

When Zechariah was told that he and Elizabeth would have a son, and that his name would be John, he doubted the angels and asked for a sign that this was true. That sign came as John was now no longer able to speak. He was struck dumb.

There are many ways in which the story of St John the Baptist is re-told as we look around the Kirk in whose name it is dedicated.

The life and teaching of St John is displayed in carvings, stained glass, sacred music, scripture and in the ancient bells of St John’s Kirk. His message has been repeated in this place for over 1000 years – from one generation to the next.