John Bunyan, Spiritual Writer

30 August -- Lesser Festival -- of any Saint -- White

Born at Elstow in Bedfordshire in 1628, John Bunyan was largely self-educated and used the Bible as his grammar. He read very few other books, and they were all piously Protestant in nature, yet he produced Pilgrim's Progress, probably the most original text of spiritual genius that century, telling the story of the man Christian on his journey through life to God. It was not written while he was a prisoner in Bedford gaol, as often stated, but during a confinement some years later. History tells us little of the man but what is clear from his writings is that the salvation of the soul was what mattered most to him. He died on this day in 1688.


God of peace,
who called your servant John Bunyan to be valiant for truth:
grant that as strangers and pilgrims
we may at the last
   rejoice with all Christian people in your heavenly city;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the book of the Exodus.

The Lord said, "I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt."

But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" God said, "I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain."

This is the word of the Lord.         Exodus 3. 7-12

Responsorial Psalm

RPray for the peace of Jerusalem;
[may they prosper who love you].
I was glad when they said to me,
"Let us go to the house of the Lord."
Now our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem. R

Jerusalem is built as a city,
that is at unity with itself,
to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord,
the assembly of Israel, to praise the name of the Lord. R

For there are the thrones of judgement,
the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
"May they prosper who love you. R

"Peace be within your walls
and quietness within your towers.
For my family and companions' sake,
I pray for your prosperity. R

"Because of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek to do you good." R         Psalm 122

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews.

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith who, for the sake of the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

This is the word of the Lord.         Hebrews 12. 1-2

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

In the hearing of all the people Jesus said to the disciples, "Those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must leave it, and those out in the country must not enter it.

"Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."

This is the gospel of Christ.         Luke 21. 21, 34-36

Post Communion

God of truth,
whose Wisdom set her table
and invited us to eat the bread and drink the wine
   of the kingdom:
help us to lay aside all foolishness
and to live and walk in the way of insight,
that we may come with your servant John Bunyan
   to the eternal feast of heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.