Sunday, June 24, 2007

The record of John

One way and another, I seem to have spent quite alot of time with John the Baptist recently, which makes it the more ironic that his birthday feast was pushed out of our calendar by the Youth Group celebration this morning.

Though actually,being pushed out of the way is very much what he's about.

I encountered this icon of him last Monday on the SpirDir course, and spent a fruitful (if demanding) time praying with it. As one who struggles constantly in ministry with the paradox of needing to be fully there and fully myself, yet transparent and leaving the way clear, John the Baptist feels like quite a good patron.

Ironically, when we were living in Great Rissington and he was indeed our church's patron, I didn't appreciate him at all - but now I can't think of a much better prayer for life and ministry than John's reflection on the coming Christ.
"He must increase, and I must decrease."
The John that I used to reflect then on was a rather alarming figure...a warm- up man who seemed intent on alienating the crowds -"You generation of vipers" is hardly the best approach if you want to win friends and influence people...He seemed alien, remote, voicing a challenge that was too frightening to be entertained.
But then, and now, I was drawn to his passion. "A burning and shining lamp"...pointing the way to Jesus...
Yes, I could go with that

Almighty God, by whose providence your servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Savior by preaching repentance: Make us so to follow his teaching and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and, following his example, constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth's sake; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What is he holding in the icon - it looks like a black rucksack, but clearly can't be... a bag of vipers... or a severed head... or....?