Today the church remembers Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist.The companionship of youth is one of the great pleasures of most of our lives. Jesus was no exception. His closest circle of intimate companions included Peter and the brothers, James and John, all fishermen by trade. They seem to have been at times a rowdy crew. Jesus referred to the brothers as "Sons of Thunder." It seems particularly appropriate that during the festive season of Christmas we remember this group of friends and especially John, Jesus's closest friend. John is called the "Beloved Disciple." It was John who reclined nearest to Jesus at the Last Supper and it was to John that Jesus, on the cross, committed the care of his mother. Peter and John seem to have remained lifelong friends. Together they went to the Lord's tomb. They were together at Pentecost and participated together in the healing of the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. Together they appeared before the Sanhedrin and together they went to lay their hands on those who had been baptized in Samaria. John visited the island of Patmos, but his most significant work seems to have been done in Ephesus. The New Testament writings which bear his name were apparently compiled there. He is said to have died in Ephesus, though others say he died on Patmos. In any case, tradition tells us he died quietly, in his sleep, presumably the only one of the Twelve to die a natural death. Illumine us also with the brightness of your light. Amen.
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Shed upon your Church, O Lord, the brightness of your light, that we, being illumined by the teaching of your apostle and evangelist John, may so walk in the light of your truth, that at length we may attain to the fullness of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.