“Good luck dealing with Herod’s beheading of John, because that’s what the Mark lesson is for. Oh, have Fun!” That was Liz, my Church's secretary, voicemail to me the week before I wrote this sermon during the Summer of 2018. Wasn’t that encouraging!
|Backstory Preaching Creative Challenge #3|
Watercolors, Markers, Colored Penicls, and Pen Art Journal Page
Paint Party Friday- Week 23 Year 9
What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 531
Inspire Me Monday - Week #395
Anyway, after a chuckle at Liz’s comments and a brief moment of bewilderment about what to do with the Gospel in my sermon, I followed the steps I’ve learned as a seminarian. Although I am very familiar with the scriptural story found in Mark 6:14-29, I read it again to see what jumped out at me. Happy Birthday, Herod, was not what came to mind! It is a grim and very dark story of an illicit marriage, vengeance, incest, pride, and a gruesome murder with an abundance of shady characters. What’s worse, the only good guy in the story lost! First we have Herod, who had abducted Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, and was too proud to back down from his promise to his stepdaughter. No respectable monarch wants to embarrass himself in front of his guests! Then, we have Herodias, who wanted to kill John the Baptist for speaking up about her illicit marriage. The clincher is Salome, Herodias’ daughter, who danced seductively at her stepfather’s birthday party and had John the Baptist decapitated as her “thank you gift.” Let’s not forget the guests, who could have objected to the decapitation, but chose to say nothing. The only redeeming character is John the Baptist, whose integrity and prophetic gifts led him to martyrdom. In addition, I also noticed parallels to the trial and crucifixion of Christ, where Ponticus Pilate washes his hands to show no responsibility for the execution of Jesus, just as Herod chose not to question the execution of John the Baptist. I’m sure you don't know anyone like that. Right?
|Tag Birthday Card|
Tim Holtz Die Cuts, Embossing Folder, Washi Tape, Distress Sticles, & Distress Inks; Acrylic Paint; Tag; and Various Papers
Moo-Mania - #197 Butterflies
More Mixed Media - With Optional Bright
Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge - Add a Die Cut
Therefore, other than the modeling John the Baptist’s honorable character, what was Mark’s purpose in telling us about this gruesome birthday party story? For that, I decided to look at it’s placement, which took me to the two stories that John’s beheadment is sandwiched between. (I learned about the sandwiching trick when working on another sermon during one of my seminarian classes.) The two sandwiching stories are about when Jesus sends out the twelve and the one about when Jesus feeds the five thousand. The first one is a story of servitude and empowerment. Although this may seem like an oxymoron, it’s actually what happened. Jesus sends out his disciples two by two with nothing, but the clothes on their backs, a staff, and the authority over impure spirits. They go out, preached for people to repent, drove out demons, anointed the sick, and healed them. Yes, although they had nothing, they were empowered and successful through their faith in Christ. The second one is a story of the abundance that can be found in Jesus, the Bread of Life. The story opens with the disciples joyously coming back and telling Jesus all about their journey. They all go off to eat, but are followed by a multitude of people. Therefore, instead of eating, Jesus proceeds to teach them, but it gets late and the multitude of people got hungry. Miraculously, Jesus feeds five-thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fish, plus they have twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. Wow, wouldn’t you have loved to witness and partake of that heavenly meal. So, after reading about the sandwiching stories, what do you believe was Mark’s purpose in telling us this gruesome birthday party story? I believe it’s to remind us that bad things can happen to good people, as well as that even in the midst of tragedy, GOD IS AT WORK. He always wins at the end!
|Tattered Birthday Card|
Various Tim Holtz Dies & Blank Card; Dymo Labeler; ekSuccess Glitter Sticker; Martha Stewart Gemstone; Various Papers
Word Art Wednesday - Weeks #398-#399
Daring Card Makers (1 Flower; 2 Words; 3 Self-adhesive Materials (Flower Sticker, Gem & Dymo Sentiment), 4-Dies (Flowerpot, Flower, Foliage & Hexagon Trim; and 5 Distress Ink Pads (Tan, Rust, Brown, Peach, & Green)
The Three Muses Challenge - Numbers
Although not as tragic, here is a story of something I witnessed personally. On July 12, 2016, my daughter Ana posted the following on my Facebook wall, along with a picture of Lisa and me, “Thank you for consistently pushing me to move forward and survive this scary black hole known as adulthood. I am so, so, so grateful for your motivation and the words of encouragement that you share with me every single day.” This was a couple of months after her graduation from Texas A&M, when she was working at Restoration Hardware. She earned a decent hourly rate, but she didn’t see a future for herself in the company. I kept encouraging her by reminding her, “Todo lo puedo en Cristo que me fortalece - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” this verse from Philippians 4:13, was engrained in me as a child by my parents. Anyway, the post popped up in my Facebook memories last week, so I commented with emojis of praying hands surrounded by hearts, as a way to thank God for all He’s done in Ana’s life since then. On Thursday, July 12, 2018, Ana posted, “Today I was reminded that two years ago at this time I felt broken, struggling to find a career that I loved or that I felt was sustainable. Now, here I am in an entirely new stage of life surrounded by people who love and support me, a church that I feel right at home in and I am able to afford and do things that I never could have imagined. I am so grateful for my job, the time I am able to spend abroad, the friends that shower me with love and a family that I know I can always count on. God is absolutely incredible.” Amen!
|Happy Birthday Telegram|
Various Tim Holtz Dies, Embossing Folder, & Distress Ink Pads; ekSuccess Mini Punch; Martha Stewart Luster Glass Microbeads; Jute Cord; Pen; Assorted Papers & Paints
Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge - Happy Birthday
Although Ana has experienced minor ups and downs, she was blessed with a marvelous childhood. Our church family at St. James is partly responsible for that. Thank you! She also had a successful experience at Texas A&M, where she got to be on the Dean’s list once and earned a couple of small scholarships. Then, just like many other college graduates, she was faced with the reality of being on her own. However, through her faith in our Lord, she found the strength, courage and wisdom to excel. In a metamorphical manner, this is what Mark is pointing out in Chapter 6. Although John the Baptist was martyred, God was still at work surrounding this terrible event. The twelve were at work learning how to evangelize, saving people’s lives, and growing as disciples of Christ. Jesus was spreading his word and was glorified through his abundance during the feeding of the five-thousand. So yes, something terrible happened, but at the end, Jesus Christ won! This is something we all need to be reminded of, rather we’re dealing with a small problem like the one my daughter Ana dealt with or trying to cope with all the tragedies that we are witnessing in our world these days. Just remember the words found in Philippians 4:13, “Todo lo puedo en Cristo que me fortalece - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
|Mountain Laurel Tree in My Garden|
iPhone Photo Edited On Pixelmator and Word Art Wednesday Scripture
T Stands For Teach Your Children
Summer Happiness Linkparty