"....for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he he liked to listed to him." This is a portion of Mark's telling of the death of John the Baptist. It is striking to hear this lesson of being perplexed and yet still liking to hear what is being said....wanting to be in that person's company.
And yet Herod lets his pride get in the way. He is worried about what his guests might think. He is embarrassed at his association with a prophet who has been maligned. He allows his hubris to get the better of him by allowing his prior oath control, permitting what he knows should not happen to happen. And John the Baptist's head ends up on a platter.
We have all been in a place in our lives where we have done something that we know we should not have done, and yet we did it anyway. We did not listen to our better angels, for whatever reason. Today's tale of John's demise is a cautionary tale for us. John challenged Herod and Herod knew this....it flummoxed him a bit.....and yet he liked to be allowed to think along the lines John made him think.....He was drawn to it.
Perhaps some of the things this Gospel account is driving us to consider today are... Where today can we pay attention to that unruly Holy Spirit kicking us in the fanny, directing our attention and interest to something that causes us to be perplexed? Where are we being challenged to grow out of our hubris, embarrassment and pride? Who (or what) is making us feel challenged about how we interact in the world? Where today can we apply as metaphor Herod's tortured acquiescence to his lesser self?
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.