Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
This week in the lectionary we turn from considering Jesus’ next arrival to considering what happened before he arrived the last time.
Isaiah talks about the peaceable kingdom. Lions and lambs together, and everyone stays alive. The Psalm is about justice, and the Romans passage concludes with this great line: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
It’s all good stuff, but I only have eyes for the Matthew passage, John the Baptist. John the Baptist, the long desired child of Elizabeth and Zechariah.
John the Baptist, by Trina Zelle
This strange child
of their old age
didn’t laugh much
small hands dry
as the sandy soil
in which he played
urgency he would
hug his old mother
and stare down
the shimmering road
over her shoulder.
Don’t you just love John the Baptist? Wow. Here is a guy who is able to be exactly who God created him to be. He doesn’t worry about what people think. John lives what Jesus has to remind all of us to do- he doesn’t worry about what is going to happen tomorrow, he lives the truth as best he can in each and every day. He wasn’t perfect. He was honest, with himself and with those who came to hear him preach.
This is what Frederick Buechner writes about John in his book
Peculiar Treasures, a Biblical Who’s Who:
“John the Baptist didn’t fool around. He lived in the wilderness around the Dead Sea. He subsisted on a starvation diet, and so did his disciples. He wore clothes that even the rummage sale people wouldn’t have handled. When he preached it was fire and brimstone every time.The kingdom was coming all right, he said, but if you thought it was going to be a pink tea, you’d better think again. If you didn’t shape up, God would give you the axe like an elm with the blight or toss you into the incinerator like what’s left over when you’ve lambasted the good out of the wheat. ”
John the Baptist comes to tell us to repent and prepare. How do we do that in our world?
How do you preach John the Baptist in a way that creates opportunity rather than discouragement?
I only have eyes for John the Baptist, but maybe one of the other text piques your interest.
What are your thoughts for this week?