Taking a deep breadth
becoming smaller, but hoping not to retreat so far inward that I’m unable to live free.
I feel I’m still trying to find my way back to some sort of stable center. The last time I wrote I had a fair amount of responses all supportive and seemingly filled with empathy.
Things can be both cathartic and filled with consequence.
And while I am not yet aware of any obvious consequence, they inevitably come.
People get defensive, have their own versions of their history and experience and futures.
In the gospel of Mark 6:14-29, Mark recounts John the Baptists beheading. It’s interesting because what prompts Marks retelling of the beheading is this assumption that John is raised from the dead and performing miracles. I’m not sure if there was precedent for this or folklore in which someone was raised from the dead before, but this is the mythology people believed.
Herod had John beheaded and believed John was raised from the dead and doing what Jesus was in fact doing. Then without much more commentary we pivot to how John was beheaded.
It was a story of John confronting Herod for marrying his brother’s wife which got him arrested leading to a sensual dance from Herod’s step daughter that leads to the request for John’s head. People in power hate to be confronted. But perhaps even more, as evidenced by this story, people associated with the people in power hate it even more (Looking at you Trump supporters *wink*).
We love creating heroes out of people who yield hard power, who are suave with manipulation.
In Mark’s account, it is clear who the villains and heroes are. The heroes come from the oppressed. The heroes plead the cause of the oppressed, the broken, the sinner. I’m just not sure that is happening in many churches. I see a lot of pleading the cause of the healthy and wealthy and put together.
But John was a locust, honey, sackcloth, ashes and not put together kind of guy. A forerunner. A man who died for the cause, for a cause that he even had his doubts about while he was in prison. He sent out disciples to find assurance that Jesus was in fact the awaited Messiah. He had moments of doubt from inside a prison cell, unable to tell if in fact he had prepared the way.
I think this is a lot of what prophetic ministry is, preparing the way with a humble uncertainty of whether or not I am right. I think it can devolve into some sentimental metaphors that become hard to comprehend or know what to do with. But John was clear in his message, “Look for and toward another (Jesus), and turn from your sin, humble yourselves, and get cleansed. He’s coming with the Spirit.”
He was clear about where the hope lies.
And he had to be because he lost his head.
And we hear nothing about the psyche of John leading up to that moment.
And I think that silence is good because there was nothing left to say. He prepared a way and then Jesus came.
One thing is certain for me after this last season. I need Jesus to come, by His Spirit and do something only He can do because I have come to the end of myself.