Tuesday, January 13, 2009

January 13

So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people. But Herod the ruler, who had been rebuked by him because of Herodias, his brother's wife, and because of all the evil things that Herod had done, added to them all by shutting up John in prison. Luke 3: 18-20 NRSV

Sometimes in the church we tend to hear the same if not similar Bible stories over and over and often miss those little verses that remind us of some of the not so nice facts of faith. Or, the verses are read but we don't hear them. Instead, we overlook them and listen to the "good" ones. This is one such passage. It comes in the midst of John's baptizing Jesus in the Jordan. We hear John's message and we hear God's affirmation of Jesus but often we miss the negative facts. Mainly, that to do God's will, to be Christian, is pretty much going to mean that we will be in direct contrast to the world. In fact, it means that our faith may get us into trouble; trouble being defined by imprisonment, torture, and possibly death.

Why do we overlook this? When we see Jesus' life, we know that he is headed to the cross. We focus instead on the risen Christ and tend to gloss over the capture, interrogation, and execution. We forget that John's life also ends badly. He is thrown into prison and later beheaded. Yet, he is Jesus' own relative, his life has been brought about through a miracle, he has been raised according to God's word and he has been preparing the way for Christ. Somehow it seems unfair he should be thrown into prison. After all, he has only been doing God's will. Is there any hope for the rest of us? I guess there is the expectation that if you do God's will you will be rewarded. But the reality is that if you do God's will, you may find yourself at the mercy of the powers of this world.

God, help us not to lose heart when we find ourselves at the mercy of the world. Help us to trust that your will is far greater and full of promise and hope. Amen.

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