Sermon, Pentecost 10

Gospel of Mark 6:14-29
King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some
were saying, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and
for this reason these powers are at work in him.” But others said,
“It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the
prophets of old.” But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom
I beheaded, has been raised.”
For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and
put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife,
because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias
had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could
not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and
holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was
greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an
opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for
his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his
daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his
guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you
wish, and I will give it.” And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever
you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” She went
out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied,
“The head of John the baptizer.” Immediately she rushed back to
the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of
John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was deeply grieved; yet out
of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse
her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to
bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the
prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then
the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

At a time when 2nd and 3rd generation Christians were being
ostracized from the Jewish community and facing increased threats of
persecution, Mark writes to all Christians that following God's plans is not
always easy.

From the beginning of God's new imaginative enfolding with John the
Baptist, the world as proven itself unwelcoming. Some will accept God's
plan as a gift, and most will reject it due to self-interest.
But Christians who are faithful in living and spreading God's good
news revealed in Jesus will help in bringing about God's love, justice and
peace on earth.
Mark is saying: “Don't be discouraged. Keep believing, keeping living
as Jesus' followers, and keep loving as Jesus loves us.”
The youth and adults participating in this past week’s Youth Mission
Project discovered for themselves that following God’s new initiative of
loving the world isn’t always easy. They had to work long hours in the hot
sun, tending the Garden of Hope in North Dayton. They fed long lines of
people food they helped to prepare at the House of Bread. Those
participants made God’s presence a reality for so many this past week.
Mission is the reason we are baptized. We are welcomed into God’s
special Family, the Church, through the sacrament of Holy Baptism, not to
get our tails into heaven. No! We become members of Jesus’ Family, the
Church, to love and serve as Jesus loves and serves. We are baptized for
What mission are you working at for the good of Jesus’ Family and
the world he gave his life for?