Education & Literature
The following link leads to my travel blog while serving as a 2018-19 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Taiwan.
The following is an excerpt from Christ in Our Home, Quarter 3 (2018).
Sunday, July 15
EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man. (v. 20)
There is a gallery on the second floor of the Minneapolis Institute of Art that my family lovingly refers to as the “Beheading Room.” With its graphic Renaissance paintings of Judith and Holofernes and the Death of John the Baptist, I was terrified of that room as a child. All the blood and violence was a stark contrast to the smiling cartoons of my children’s Bible. I used to keep my head down and move quickly through this gallery.
Those paintings had an important lesson to teach me though. God is present in the sunny, hopeful moments appropriate for Sunday School. Just a few chapters before today’s verse, God reigned over Jesus’s baptism, a triumphant moment for both John and Jesus (Mark 1:10-11). But God is also present in the moments that are gruesome and full of despair. God remains with the outcasts, the prisoners, and the sick. God’s light shines in John so brightly Herod fears him. John the Baptist reminds us that even when we are persecuted, we can hold onto faith and hope, for God remains with us.
God, we see you in sunlight and joy. Help us find you in darkness and despair. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayer concern: Political prisoners around the world
Copyright Augsburg Fortress, 1517 Media, 2018.