"He went off and beheaded (John the Baptist) in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl."
Most surprisingly, this gospel story was actually illustrated in my children's bible when I was a kid! The picture was gruesome, this head on a plate, with curly dark hair, eyes and mouth open. It was scary and I usually avoided the page like the plague. So, of course, every time I read the gospel of the death of John the Baptist, I see that picture in my mind--I'm haunted fifty years later. Which brings me to the conclusion--we are afraid of the hard stuff. We are afraid of things not going well, of people dying, of our lives taking a bad turn; aren't we? We are afraid of the gruesome, the gory, the ugly...the lepers, the maimed, the not-all-there. We avoid it all, just like I avoided the picture of John the Baptist's head on a plate. But that doesn't mean it isn't there or doesn't happen. What must we do? How do we cope with the things we cannot face; the things we wish didn't happen but that we cannot control? We clearly must do what we can to correct injustice. We must find ways in our small circles of influence to right wrongs and support justice for all people near and far. Maybe it means stopping the gossip at the lunch table. Maybe it means supporting relief efforts a half a world away. Maybe it means praying for those on death row. We can pray for God to guide our thoughts, words and actions to bring about justice for people who suffer. We can do something and we must rely on God to guide our steps. I still shudder at the picture of John's head. But that should lead me to action! Love, heidi