Friday Was the Feast of the Baptizer

 

John first penetrated my awareness in the gospels. He was an Elijah, a Jeremiah, an Isaiah, in an age when the prophets had been silent for 400 years, and in an age when, to my young mind, no other prophets were needed. The Son had come. The demon Baal and his profits were now truly and utterly and forever defeated and cast out.

If the feet of the Son trods the mountaintops publishing peace, what is this mere prophet doing here? And the Son tells us, John is the greatest of all the prophets. Not that the Son isn’t a prophet and immeasurably greater than John, but the Son is something that is the epitome of so many titles. Prophet, priest, rabbi, king, shepherd, son … friend. He chides John to baptize Him despite the odd asymmetries of that moment, to fulfill all righteousness. I have read commentaries, but I am still convinced that the full and exact portent of those words will not be shown to me until the fulfillment of the promise of the resurrection of the body, when I ask Him to His face.

I had a younger brother. I was very young at the time, but am still gifted with the odd memory of mom presenting her swollenness so that I might feel my brother’s kicks. And he was, indeed, a kicker. Have no doubt. But he never kicked for me, and because this was such a special thing it saddened me. The sadness is what I remember most keenly, there was life here, a sibling I had never seen, but it was hiding from me. (No children, this was before all of that, there would not be a brother in the equation until he issued forth from our mother’s womb, dingus and all. We did not pry at the mysteries then as we do now.)

So when, in the King James, my still very young eyes came to Luke 1:41, “And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost” Babies kick for everyone else, I thought at the time. But this one kicked to tell everyone, even me, two millennia later, the good news.

When I learned what abortion was, I knew immediately that this was darkness. And I knew there was darkness in this life. There was darkness when the Devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness. (The Devil was always clueless, wicked, intelligent, dangerous, yes, but always clueless. Blind to the Beatific Vision.) There was darkness in His agony in the garden at Gethsemane, in His perfect knowledge of the horror that was imminently upon Him. There was darkness in the Sanhedrin, and in Pilate. “What is truth?”

And there was darkness in the separate water fountains and bathrooms and hotels and clubs for those deemed inferior by their breeding, or by the melanin content of their skin. I had seen these things, and heard of them. A darkness where the humanity of my friend, Calvin, or of the man who taught me the story of Noah, the great and horrible Bill Cosby, did not somehow arise to that of others. My puny eight-year-old fist balled tight. If you are not of their tribe, you are not of mine.

And then, when I heard what abortion was, barely comprehending, I discovered a depth of darkness I had never imagined. Among the first explanations I heard was the one that black mothers in economic distress needed to do this to make a life for themselves. So, if the other will share our water fountains and our bathrooms, we should lead them to kill their innocent babies by the millions so that we may be less so burdened? An act of cosmic retribution for the impudence to claim the personhood that they already knew in Christ? Reach cold instruments into their mother’s protecting wombs and slice them ruthlessly into marketable bits for the enrichment of Dr. Lamborghini and Dr. Porsche?

Thomas Jefferson’s trembling for his country on reflecting that God is just has long been my trembling, as well. But it got worse.

The next shoe to drop went even further. Parental consent, and even parental notification. Those august figures in Washington and the state capitals did not stop with letting their children and their grandchildren be butchered by Dr. Lamborghini and Dr. Porsche. That was not bad enough. Not dark enough. Not evil enough. No, they averted their eyes and abrogated all parental authority for all parents. Stalin and Hitler would have been proud.

And the Apostate Biden and the Apostate Pelosi claim, in the purest of blasphemies, that abortion is a sacrament, a fundamental Christian right. An exorcist that I know of relates the story of the demon that threatened his mother. He took this personally, and began thinking of tortures appropriate to a demon that would dare to threaten his beloved mother. And, perhaps checked by the darkness of his own thoughts in a moment of testing, he prayed to the Almighty that He might punish this demon in a way that was harsher than any punishment the demon had yet known. His prayer was answered, and seeing how it was answered the exorcist suddenly appreciated the capacity of the Infinite for wrath. I pray these smug, corrupt apostates repent. The alternative is too horrible for mere mortals to imagine.

John leapt in the womb. No blob of tissue, but a human being possessed of a soul and a body and a heartbeat. And deserving of our love and protection. My joy is reflected on the face of the justice who has waited an entire career to strike this blow against the demonic. May the Lord bless the five justices. I am not yet ready to ask for His mercy for the others.

Laughing Clarence Thomas

Published in Religion & Philosophy
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  1. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Nicely said. 

    • #1
  2. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    John is so interesting. He is a Nazirite Levite that avoids the temple. I wonder how his father felt about his calling. Is this a Samson who God uses in spite his failures to do as God desires? Or is he a Samuel that hears God’s voice as Moses did?

    • #2
  3. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Stina (View Comment):

    John is so interesting. He is a Nazirite Levite that avoids the temple. I wonder how his father felt about his calling. Is this a Samson who God uses in spite his failures to do as God desires? Or is he a Samuel that hears God’s voice as Moses did?

    I think John is firmly a Samuel. And the Temple that he avoids is not Solomon’s, but Herod’s, with a Chief Priest determined by the Roman governor and a porch of the gentiles given over to the merchants for the sake of the kickbacks. One suspects that Jesus’ presentation at the Temple involved a purification and sanctification of the Temple more than of Jesus, even as it fulfilled the Law. As for the reaction of John’s father, Zachariah, he was quite famously speechless. But, seriously, does Zachariah recognize and abhor the corruption of his beloved Temple. I imagine so. If not before John’s career begins, certainly it would be clear to him after if he was alive. He also having been famously ancient when John was conceived.

    Imagine what it means to be a Levite in Herod’s Temple. The Ark of the Covenant is gone. The Tablets of the Law are gone. The ceremony is still observed (following the restoration after the Babylonian captivity) in the face of all that is missing and all that is flawed because, if you are a Levite, that is your duty. The true Levite will serve God always, as best as they are able, in the face of all difficulties, even under the authority of apostate atheist Chief Priests. Bless them, they can do no other.

    • #3
  4. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    John is so interesting. He is a Nazirite Levite that avoids the temple. I wonder how his father felt about his calling. Is this a Samson who God uses in spite his failures to do as God desires? Or is he a Samuel that hears God’s voice as Moses did?

    I think John is firmly a Samuel. And the Temple that he avoids is not Solomon’s, but Herod’s, with a Chief Priest determined by the Roman governor and a porch of the gentiles given over to the merchants for the sake of the kickbacks. One suspects that Jesus’ presentation at the Temple involved a purification and sanctification of the Temple more than of Jesus, even as it fulfilled the Law. As for the reaction of John’s father, Zachariah, he was quite famously speechless. But, seriously, does Zachariah recognize and abhor the corruption of his beloved Temple. I imagine so. If not before John’s career begins, certainly it would be clear to him after if he was alive. He also having been famously ancient when John was conceived.

    Imagine what it means to be a Levite in Herod’s Temple. The Ark of the Covenant is gone. The Tablets of the Law are gone. The ceremony is still observed (following the restoration after the Babylonian captivity) in the face of all that is missing and all that is flawed because, if you are a Levite, that is your duty. The true Levite will serve God always, as best as they are able, in the face of all difficulties, even under the authority of apostate atheist Chief Priests. Bless them, they can do no other.

    Oh I definitely agree. I was just wondering how Zechariah handled it at a time, I think, that the levites were dying out.

    • #4
  5. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Stina (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    John is so interesting. He is a Nazirite Levite that avoids the temple. I wonder how his father felt about his calling. Is this a Samson who God uses in spite his failures to do as God desires? Or is he a Samuel that hears God’s voice as Moses did?

    I think John is firmly a Samuel. And the Temple that he avoids is not Solomon’s, but Herod’s, with a Chief Priest determined by the Roman governor and a porch of the gentiles given over to the merchants for the sake of the kickbacks. One suspects that Jesus’ presentation at the Temple involved a purification and sanctification of the Temple more than of Jesus, even as it fulfilled the Law. As for the reaction of John’s father, Zachariah, he was quite famously speechless. But, seriously, does Zachariah recognize and abhor the corruption of his beloved Temple. I imagine so. If not before John’s career begins, certainly it would be clear to him after if he was alive. He also having been famously ancient when John was conceived.

    Imagine what it means to be a Levite in Herod’s Temple. The Ark of the Covenant is gone. The Tablets of the Law are gone. The ceremony is still observed (following the restoration after the Babylonian captivity) in the face of all that is missing and all that is flawed because, if you are a Levite, that is your duty. The true Levite will serve God always, as best as they are able, in the face of all difficulties, even under the authority of apostate atheist Chief Priests. Bless them, they can do no other.

    Oh I definitely agree. I was just wondering how Zechariah handled it at a time, I think, that the levites were dying out.

    Believe you are correct, and he would have felt it poignantly given his own infertility. One can imagine a hard conversation as John grabs his saved up locusts and honey, straps on his hair-shirt, and proceeds to lure sinners into the desert. Dad, by reflex if nothing else, would shudder as the lad calls out Herod for his wickedness. And then, Dad trying to raise bail to spring his wayward son from Herod’s dungeon. Maybe pushing 100 by then. Elizabeth chiding him for stopping for water and a little rest while her son molders in a Herodian dungeon. Serving the Lord is trying work.

    • #5
  6. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Stina (View Comment):

    John is so interesting. He is a Nazirite Levite that avoids the temple. I wonder how his father felt about his calling. Is this a Samson who God uses in spite his failures to do as God desires? Or is he a Samuel that hears God’s voice as Moses did?

    I’ve felt that the Gospel writers minimized John the Baptist, whether intentionally or by lack of knowledge. After all Jesus must increase while he must decrease, but there seems to be so much more to his story that is missing. 

    • #6
  7. Cassandro Coolidge
    Cassandro
    @Flicker

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    John is so interesting. He is a Nazirite Levite that avoids the temple. I wonder how his father felt about his calling. Is this a Samson who God uses in spite his failures to do as God desires? Or is he a Samuel that hears God’s voice as Moses did?

    I think John is firmly a Samuel. And the Temple that he avoids is not Solomon’s, but Herod’s, with a Chief Priest determined by the Roman governor and a porch of the gentiles given over to the merchants for the sake of the kickbacks. One suspects that Jesus’ presentation at the Temple involved a purification and sanctification of the Temple more than of Jesus, even as it fulfilled the Law. As for the reaction of John’s father, Zachariah, he was quite famously speechless. But, seriously, does Zachariah recognize and abhor the corruption of his beloved Temple. I imagine so. If not before John’s career begins, certainly it would be clear to him after if he was alive. He also having been famously ancient when John was conceived.

    Imagine what it means to be a Levite in Herod’s Temple. The Ark of the Covenant is gone. The Tablets of the Law are gone. The ceremony is still observed (following the restoration after the Babylonian captivity) in the face of all that is missing and all that is flawed because, if you are a Levite, that is your duty. The true Levite will serve God always, as best as they are able, in the face of all difficulties, even under the authority of apostate atheist Chief Priests. Bless them, they can do no other.

    “and this woman was a widow [a]of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.”

    The serving at the temple was not necessarily a bad thing.

    • #7
  8. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Cassandro (View Comment):

    “and this woman was a widow [a]of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.”

    The serving at the temple was not necessarily a bad thing.

    I never meant to suggest it was. I am in awe of the Levites at this time who continued to lead worship of the one true God when their own leadership was more of a mind to erode the people’s faith and loot the sacred treasures just as quickly as could be managed without another Maccabees uprising like the Greeks had triggered with their brutal, and in the urban areas mostly successful, Hellenization of Judea. The Romans failed with the soft power campaign, so in the late ’60s an open Zealot-led revolt led to the razing of Herod’s Temple and the brutal destruction and massacre of Jerusalem.

    There are parallels today where the pious contend with corrupt clerics.

    What His enemies mean for evil, He uses faithful servants like the First Century Levites to turn for good. The widow in question was far from a singular instance, looking after the welfare of widows was a part of the institutional history of the Temple. Had the Temple stopped doing Temple things altogether, it would have lost its efficacy as a pacification tool. It is astonishing to watch Him work, both in history and today.

    • #8
  9. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Manny (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    John is so interesting. He is a Nazirite Levite that avoids the temple. I wonder how his father felt about his calling. Is this a Samson who God uses in spite his failures to do as God desires? Or is he a Samuel that hears God’s voice as Moses did?

    I’ve felt that the Gospel writers minimized John the Baptist, whether intentionally or by lack of knowledge. After all Jesus must increase while he must decrease, but there seems to be so much more to his story that is missing.

    The Apostles Andrew and John were disciples of John the Baptist. I think that John would agree with his limited appearances in the gospels. His mission was to prepare the Lord’s way, and it is the Lord that occupies the verses that might otherwise be allocated to John. As John points out in John 21:25, if all of what Jesus did was captured, the world itself would be unable to contain the books.

    • #9
  10. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    John is so interesting. He is a Nazirite Levite that avoids the temple. I wonder how his father felt about his calling. Is this a Samson who God uses in spite his failures to do as God desires? Or is he a Samuel that hears God’s voice as Moses did?

    I’ve felt that the Gospel writers minimized John the Baptist, whether intentionally or by lack of knowledge. After all Jesus must increase while he must decrease, but there seems to be so much more to his story that is missing.

    The Apostles Andrew and John were disciples of John the Baptist. I think that John would agree with his limited appearances in the gospels. His mission was to prepare the Lord’s way, and it is the Lord that occupies the verses that might otherwise be allocated to John. As John points out in John 21:25, if all of what Jesus did was captured, the world itself would be unable to contain the books.

    John is a Old-New covenant link, though. His teachings may be part of John’s and Paul’s writings.

    • #10
  11. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    It was an unusual year when the Feast of Nativity of St. John the Baptist and the Feast of the Sacred Heart fell on the same day.  It took the combined might of St. John and the Sacred Heart to overcome Roe!

    • #11
  12. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    It was an unusual year when the Feast of Nativity of St. John the Baptist and the Feast of the Sacred Heart fell on the same day. It took the combined might of St. John and the Sacred Heart to overcome Roe!

    That’s so cool

    • #12
  13. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Reflecting on the economy of words the conditions of the age forced on the gospels, it occurs to me that, in the next life, there are some wonderful best sellers available to the heavenly bibliophile. John the Baptist: The Autobiography is high on my buy list. I also look forward to Paul’s memoirs: Shipwrecks and Whippings: An Apostolic Life. And John the Theologian’s treatise on the career of Judas Iscariot, Not All Souls Go to Heaven.

    • #13
  14. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Stina (View Comment):

    John is so interesting. He is a Nazirite Levite that avoids the temple. I wonder how his father felt about his calling. Is this a Samson who God uses in spite his failures to do as God desires? Or is he a Samuel that hears God’s voice as Moses did?

    My granddaughter was introduced to John in Bible School last week. 

    • #14
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