Saturday, August 31, 2013

John the Baptist...gets it!

Get it?” That is a curious question that can refer to all sorts of things. It can mean: “Did you go and get what I asked you to get for me?”  It can mean: “Did you receive the email or text message I sent to you?”  It can be the question asked after someone does not respond to a joke: “Did you get the meaning of the joke I just told you?”  It can be the exclamation of excitement when a riddle, puzzle or problem is solved successfully: “I got it!”
When I have traveled to other countries and cultures, there have been times when something happened that did not make any sense to me, and I clearly “did not get it.” I have painful memories of growing up and feeling culturally awkward with my peers, and being told that “I just did not get it!” There are few harsher criticisms of someone than to say “he/she just doesn’t get it.” In a working environment that might mean not having the skill set to do the job or be a contributing member of the team. In a social setting it might mean behaving inappropriately.
But “getting it” is a sweet experience and a high compliment. There are many skilled people who “get” what their job is and do it with excellence and delight. There are some people I can go to with vexing problems and situations who I know “get it” when it comes to what it means to be a pastor in today’s world.
Getting ready for worship this Sunday has been so much fun because I have been reacquainted with someone I was familiar with, but had not been around for a while.  That person is John the Baptist. He is so familiar to Christians. He is like wallpaper to our Gospel stories. We know where he fits and what he does. He is the baptizer of repentant crowds and the reluctant baptizer of Jesus. But as I read the text (John 1:19-34) over and over again I realized that John the Baptist is one who “really gets it” when it comes to Jesus.
Read the story over for yourselves a couple of times. What are the indicators you see that reveal John the Baptist as “getting it?”


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