20 Mar

Text and image by Rick McVicar   

      A violent story of state-sanctioned oppression of indigenous people is told in Mark’s Gospel with the telling of John the Baptist’s beheading by Herod (6:14-29, NIV). 

     Mark begins his Gospel with a description of John as being a man living off the land in a wilderness area, similar to an indigenous person. He wears clothes made from camel’s hair and eats locusts and honey by the Jordan River (1:6). In the person of John the Baptist, we have a representative for indigenous people. 

     In our current time of environmental crisis, indigenous people are bearing the brunt of climate change. 

     Interestingly, John the Baptist’s fate appears similar to what has happened to indigenous people throughout history. 

     Mark’s beheading story begins with Herod fearing that John the Baptist may have been reincarnated in the person of Jesus following John’s execution. Herod wonders if that is why Jesus is so popular and able to perform miracles (6:14-16). Here the writer starts offering explanations for why the Romans may want to have Jesus killed. 🤬

     The writer then looks back on Herod killing John, who he had previously liked (v. 20). This kind of liking appears similar to when early American settlers and the U.S. government befriended indigenous people only to turn against them.             

     Herod turns against John over sexual morality issues. Herod marries his brother’s wife, which offends John’s moral sensibilities. While Herod can still tolerate John, his wife wants John dead. 

     Following a dance by her daughter, Herod orders John’s head to be severed and delivered on a platter 6:(21-25). The reader must wonder what this dance must be like and how provocative it might be.             

     As you imagine that dance, may you have artful health today.

A spider sandwiched between a red tree and a green tree.

""Spider Climbs A Tree" Click on image to go to trance music video on YouTube.

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