Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Prayer for Herod

Reading Mark a while back I came across a clear picture of what I think the Lord wants me to do with my writing.

It's during the description of Herod's conflicted feelings about John the Baptist. It says that Herod "feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John he was greatly puzzled; but he still liked to listen to him."

I would like my writing to be the overflow of a righteous and holy life. I would like it to impact people like Herod, so corrupted and evil that they are indignant to discover that it's wrong to marry your brother's wife. I would like them to puzzle over things, to think about them all the time and wonder what it all means, and I would like them to enjoy it at the same time, just like Herod enjoyed hearing from John.

I felt sorry for Herod as I looked at the different things mentioned about him in the gospel accounts. In John, for instance, he becomes interested in meeting Jesus (that's mentioned in Luke, too) but doesn't come face to face with him until just before the crucifixion, when Christ refuses to speak to him. I think of Herod then, and I really feel for him. He seems to be responding somehow to what John is sharing with him (Herodias certainly seems to think this is a danger, at least), but then his own disturbing sinfulness leads him into a situation where he must behead John. Then, when he finally sees Jesus, his chance seems to have passed. It ends with him mocking Jesus and sending him back to Pilate.

I hope that Herod figured it out somewhere along the line. I hope he saw the emptiness of his own life and saw something noble in Jesus' silence when he questioned him. I hope that somewhere he met Christ again and in time to recognize him for Who and What he is.