Feast of St. John the Divine: December 27
A blessed St. John Apostle and Evangelist Day to you!
St. John the Divine, as he is also known, wrote the most sublime of the four gospels, that is why his symbol historically has been the eagle.
I’ll share something interesting with you. To this day, I still will often have a dream while I’m sleeping in which I’m reading and pondering portions of the Gospel of his epistles in Greek, I “hear” the Greek words and they take on often beautiful shapes and colors and then images form based on the Greek. They are such meaningful dreams, and quite vivid, I regret when I have to awaken and end it. I’m sure it is because I spent so much time as a younger man reading and studying and even memorizing major chunks of these materials. They are now deeply embedded in my soul and I would not have it any other way.
Here is a beautiful hymn for the day.
The painting is by Velasquez.
Saint John, Saint John was Christ’s disciple,
and Evangelist also;
He for the sake of Jesus Christ
Much pains did undergo,
Because he loved our Saviour Christ,
As Holy Scriptures say,
And was belov’d of him also,
And in his bosom lay.
Saint John for love of our Saviour
Did undergo much pain
And never ceased during life
To preach Christ Jesus’ name.
Saint John, he at Jerusalem
Did preach God’s holy word,
And for the same the spiteful pagans
They did him cruel scourge.
Then did he for the same rejoice,
That he was counted worthy
To suffer for the sake of Christ,
And would him not deny.
To Patmos banish’d was Saint John,
As Scripture doth record,
For the testimony of Christ,
And his most holy word.
And as he was in the Spirit
On the Lord’s blessed day,
Our Saviour by an Angel spake,
and unto him did say,
I am Alpha and Omega,
Which was and is to come;
And what thou seest write in a book
Thus said he to Saint John
And send it to the Churches then,
Which are in Asia seven.
And said the Angel to Saint John,
Which came to him from Heaven.
Then John turn’d him about to see,
And was astonished
At the sight of the Angel bright,
Who said, Be comforted,
For I was alive, and also dead,
Now I live for evermore,
And have the keys of death and hell;Take comfort now therefore.
Then wretched Caesar, as ’tis said,
The Emperor Domitian,
Into a tub of boiling oil
At Rome he thrust Saint John.
Therein received he no harm,
But safely from thence came,
And died at last at Ephesus
Writing declares the same.
William Sandys, Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (London: Richard Beckley, 1833)