God of goodness and justice,
How is that John the Baptist did everything right
And yet, everything went wrong for him?
It isn’t like what you asked him to do was easy to begin with.
He had to call people out for lives
That had turned in on themselves.
He had to walk a fine line with everyone watching,
Just waiting for him to slip up.
But he didn’t. He was good through and through.
But Herod wasn’t.
Herod the puppet king who was scared of anyone and everything.
He couldn’t have John free, but then he didn’t want him dead either.
How awful it must be to have such power,
And yet not have the will or wisdom to use it.
So John continued to speak the truth, even in chains.
He was so committed, so fearless.
And still that wasn’t enough to get him out of trouble.
Still it wasn’t enough to deliver him from his captors.
If a life such as John the Baptist’s isn’t worthy of reward, Then what hope do we have?
It did not end well for John,
Though he did everything right.
He became a pawn in a pointless game.
A noble life snuffed out in the name of … what exactly?
In grief we hold before you
All that which has gone wrong for us and those we love
Despite our best efforts.
We have found ourselves powerless to make a difference,
Though we have tried and tried.
God knows, we have tried.
Yet it has not been enough,
And we are left to deal with endings we did not set out to write.
Unless we are being hasty, O God of resurrection.
Are we too eager to see a full stop in John’s story,
In our stories,
Where you only see a comma?
A pause for breath?
God of the empty tomb,
With John the Baptist we ask that you help us lead fearless lives
Committed to what is good and true,
Regardless of the cost.
No longer holding ourselves to account, But only to live faithfully, justly and courageously.
And we trust that you will write an ending fitting for us in your love.
We trust you with the final word on us.
In the name of God’s First and Final Word, Jesus Christ