Psalm 71. You have showed me great troubles and adversities, but you will restore my life and bring me up again from the deep places of the earth.

The story of the execution of John the Baptist sticks in the throat. You know exactly how the story will end, but every time you read it you hope the outcome will be different. It never is.

Speaking the truth always has consequences. The prophets’ call to speak the truth carries the risk of undesirable consequences. Herod’s self-entrapment, from making a promise to grant a request he never anticipated, does not earn him any pity. He sacrifices the life of John to preserve his own pride.

We can only imagine the sadness and sorrow that accompanied Jesus and the apostles at the news of John’s death. We are familiar with the same emotions when something unjust, unkind, and cruel happens to someone we know and love. How very much we should like to change the end of the story to something else. But we can’t.

What we can do is mourn, remember, and start again. We can pray to God to heal us, turn us from selfish pride, and open us to renewal by the Holy Spirit. It is not always enough to satisfy us, but it is a beginning.

PRAY for the Diocese of Upper South Carolina (Province IV, USA)

Ps [70] * 74; Ezra 7:(1-10)11-26; Revelation 14:1-13; Matthew 14:1-12

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