The Difference

Stop!  Don’t read any further until you check out the Gospel Reading for this coming Sunday, July 12th:  click here.

Salome Dancing Before Herod:  Gustave Moreau, 1874-76

Salome Dancing Before Herod: Gustave Moreau, 1874-76

This story has lots of tawdry details.  And judging by the ticker on CNN, we are a society that like to listen in on tawdry details!  Imagine yourself as Herod:  your new wife’s daughter dancing seductively for you and your friends; drinking a little too much wine; later, in a perfunctory display of power, making a hasty oath, then being bound by pride to do it (against your better judgment).  Or, imagine being Salome.  Herodias.  John the Baptist.  The Executioner.  The disciples who gather a headless body.  Or even the kitchen help sent to fetch a platter.

The meaning of the story can easily be lost in all of the tawdry details (are you listening, Jackson family?).   The real story here is the difference between power (which Herod has) and authority (which belonged to those who followed this message of repentence:  John, Jesus, the Disciples out on their Mission).  The contrast is clear.  Power can be used for good or evil.  Authority, true authority, is not necessarily found in banquet halls.

God of true authority, let us not be deceived by your weaker incarnation:  power.  Amen.


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