This past Sunday's gospel lesson about the beheading of John the Baptist is one of the most disturbing and profound in the Bible. The vastly different ideologies of Herod and John point to an internal conflict at work in many of us. Herod values authority, the trappings of success and his own comfort above all else. John sees his own needs as subservient to the needs of Jesus and the people to whom he announces Jesus' arrival. I know my own struggle with wanting to serve Jesus with selfless devotion yet being drawn to things that hold little lasting meaning but bring temporary enjoyment.
Suzanne Guthrie writes about this inner conflict: "Is my love for God, for justice, for the kingdom, as powerful as my devotion to distractions, glittering things, and self-preservation? Will I end my days torn between two loves - one worldly - and the other drawing me toward the eternal heart of the universe? This eternal love calls to me in the wilderness of my soul - repent, forsake your sins, and prepare the way for the Holy One of God. Is my love for God as strong as death?"
It's a great question, one I don't ask nearly often enough. How about you?
Oak Grove Pavilion welcomes Jam Sandwich, a rock and roll dance music band, this coming Sunday, July 22, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. In recent weeks, we've had more and more people join us on Sunday afternoons, picnic and/or lawn chairs in tow, for a wonderful couple of hours of music that benefits the nonprofit organizations supported by Oak Grove's ministry. Come join them!
For your calendar:
We have several joint worship services coming up, so mark your calendar!
Sunday, July 29 10:30 am St. Mark (Floydfest weekend; gives people a chance to attend after church)
Sunday, August 5 10:30 am Zion's homecoming with potluck following
Sunday, August 26 10:30 am St. Mark's homecoming with potluck following
Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces.
-Chapter at First Vespers, Jeremiah 1:17 the feastday of the beheading of John the Baptist, (August 29)