St Zachariah and Elizabeth

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Parents of St John the Baptist. Both were old when the Angel Gabriel came to tell them they were going to have a son. Zachariah was so shocked he lost the power of speech. When Elizabeth went to meet Mary, who was expecting Jesus, the child leapt up in her womb.

When the baby was born, Zachariah wrote the name John on a tablet. His speech returned in the Temple, according to the Gospel of Luke, ( 1:68-79) The Canticle of Zechariah is sung daily at Morning Prayer.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel!
He has visited his people and redeemed them.

He has raised up for us a mighty saviour
In the house of David his servant,
As he promised by the lips of holy men,
Those who were his prophets from of old.

A saviour who would free us from our foes,
From the hands of all who hate us.
So his love for our fathers is fulfilled
And his holy covenant remembered.

He swore to Abraham our father to grant us,
that free from fear, and saved from the hands of our foes,
we might serve him in holiness and justice
all the days of our life in his presence.

As for you, little child,
you shall be called a prophet of God, the Most High.
You shall go ahead of the Lord
To prepare his ways before him.

To make known to his people their salvation
Through forgiveness of all their sins,

The loving-kindness of the heart of our God
Who visits us like the dawn from on high.

He will give light to those in darkness,
Those who dwell in the shadow of death,
And guide us into the way of peace.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

Amen.

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