Today’s Bible reading

Read Mark 6:14-29

Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him. –Mark 6:20

More thoughts for meditation

The absurdity of John’s death is a witness to the still very present  need for a savior. Herod’s murder is not unique or even unexpected today. Dissidents are killed by the government all over the world today. And in the United States too (maybe in Ferguson). The government may not be so audaciously unjust in our part of the world, but there is a lot riding on status quo maintenance. Students of history, including the history of John the Baptist, should not be shocked to learn the extent of evil our systems are capable of. 

When the discomfort of change is upon us, we will inevitably encounter resistance–even murderous resistance. It can be lonely to see the world as it is, continue to imagine the world as it will one day be, and to be so strange in the middle of it all for having our unique vision. “Are you blind?!” we might exclaim in exasperation daily to those who seem to be at peace where there is no peace. How do you wait when everything seems to be pushing you back into your place? And in the face of violent intimidation?

Our hope is secure but often feels so insecure. Jesus, show us the light! Give us courage to persevere with our ancestors. Even without threats of violence, we need more light to see and remember who you are and who we are in you. Help us to wait. May the culture we form in our circle of hope bolster us. May our brothers and sisters hold us up when we stumble, and pull us along when we stall. May your spirit move us along. May the current of your love be so strong.

Suggestions for action

Read the news and pray. Do not hide your head in the sandy false protection of your distractions. Read your family and friends and show up as your truest self right now. Be who you mean to be and act accordingly, even where that is not the norm or normal, even when it feels foolish or scary. Speaking and acting from the truth means we must not settle for the dark. We know the light of the world and the darkness has not overcome him. It won’t overcome us either because he has made his stand with us and will never leave us alone.

Pray: God-with-us be our light and life. Shine bright when the powers of darkness seem so dark.