The Benedictus: Zechariah’s Canticle

Below is a portion of Zechariah’s prophecy from Luke’s infancy narrative, which, when used as a canticle in church liturgy, is called The Benedictus. A canticle is non-metrical hymn based on Scripture. Mary’s song or The Magnificat, also found in Luke, is another example. They are all beautiful and theologically rich, and form an important part of the Christmas story in Scripture. Zechariah’s has always been one of my favourites.

Zechariah’s prophecy over his newborn baby boy, John the Baptist:

And you, my child, “Prophet of the Highest,”
will go ahead of the Master to prepare his ways,
Present the offer of salvation to his people,
the forgiveness of their sins.
Through the heartfelt mercies of our God,
God’s Sunrise will break in upon us,
Shining on those in the darkness,
those sitting in the shadow of death,
Then showing us the way, one foot at a time,
down the path of peace.

Luke 1:76-79 (The Message)