Monday, 2 November 2009

John, the Beheaded

What did we go out to see?
A reed bending and bowing in the wind of God’s change
Billowing words from one stripped so bare
Marked by the desert and a message to pierce
Tyranny’s rage, the oppression of a people
And a nation straining to see the dawning of humanity’s final age

What did we go out to see?
A wilderness voice come home within the wildness of man’s heart
Stirring the waters beneath in breathless anticipation of heaven’s mighty waterfall
Dripping wet in a dry land, glistening golden in the noonday heat
Mercy making right, making straight the crooked way
For the Man, the Lamb, the taker of sin

What did we go out to see?
A man of fire who spoke of a greater burning to come
A man with a gaze to implant steel in the weakened backbone
Of a people waiting, whispering God’s age-old promises
Of chosen-ness, closeness and covenant
Eyes fixed on the horizon to glimpse the appearing of the Father’s only Son

What did we go out to see?
You knew who you were, recognised, prophesied, perceived the necessary increase and decrease
Felt your heart leap in greeting at last the sinless Saviour
Filled by the Holy Spirit in your mother’s womb, now standing face to face with your mother’s cousin’s beloved Son
His beginning, the dove descending, did you know to herald your doom?

What did we go out to see?
A man cowed in prison, head in hands wondering how it came to this
Sunken in the pit of the king’s darkened heart
Trampled under the sure-footed death dance of a hating queen
To be no more heard, thought severed, silence served up on that platter
An arm raised to fell the strong, tall prophet, who had so violently laid hold

What did we go out to see?
After everything, you asked your disciples to find out, was it He?
The blind now seeing, the deaf hearing, the dumb shouting praises, the poor lifted up; was it He?
What did you pray when you closed your eyes in that deep-down dark hell?
What did you hear? Did you speak as your executioner entered your cell?
John, the Baptiser, no less the voice of one crying in the wilderness as the blade rose, and then, so swiftly, fell

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