Archive for August 29th, 2006

Beheading of John the Baptist

Readings: Jeremiah 1:17-19; Mark 6:17-29 

You could hardly have two readings more calculated to contradict each other than these. The first is bracing with promise: you will be a pillar of iron, a wall of bronze; they will not overcome you. And it’s quite a ‘they’ arrayed against the prophet: kings, princes, priests, and people. And it’s a promise that God does not keep. In the end Jeremiah is doomed and defeated: the Lord neither delivers him nor the people.

John the Baptizer fares no better: his message arrays the powers of his day against him and … and his God does not deliver him either. On its own that is bad enough, but we have that promise made to Jeremiah in our ears, awakening the engrained conviction that things really should go better for those who speak God’s word and do God’s work?

(more…)

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