Monday, June 24, 2013

The Feast Day of John the Baptist and Its Relevance for Creative Types

Today is the feast day of John the Baptist.  For more on this feast day and the prophet it celebrates, see this post that I wrote for the Living Lutheran website.  But here, on my creativity blog, let's think about the relevance of this festival day for poets, writers, and artists of all sorts.

--John the Baptist is the child of Elizabeth, who was the cousin of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Elizabeth was thought to be barren and beyond child-bearing years--until she became pregnant.  It's a good day to think about the dreams we may have forsaken, assuming that we've waited too long.  What would you yearn for, if it wasn't too late? 

--A child born to a barren woman--a miracle.  What miracles would you like to see in your life?

--We first see John the Baptist as a prophet in the wilderness, living on locusts and wild honey.  Some scholars see these actions as evidence of the seriousness of his mission and how devoted he is to it.  Are we willing to sacrifice comfort for our vision?

--Or maybe it is more accurate to say that this wilderness time is what leads to the fulfillment of the vision.  How can we carve out more time apart so that our mission becomes clear to us?

Now for some scarier questions:

--John the Baptist knew who he was, even though many others tried to make him be someone else.  He resolutely answered, "I am not the Messiah."  Who is trying to transform you into a person that you are not?  Who is trying to change your art?

--John the Baptist lost his life because he told Herod the truth about the way that Herod was living his life.  Where do we need to speak truth to power?

--Alternately, we could make the argument that we lost a powerful, prophetic voice, and Herod certainly didn't change.  What changes in behavior do we need to make so that we can be active for many more decades?

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