07102021 – Mark 6. 14-29

 

We know , we get it, we understand, that bad things happen to good people.  Honest people, well-intentioned, kind people.

 

The death toll in the Champlain Towers- South collapse in Miami-Dade county continues to rise.

 

More than 60 residents are still potentially missing and unaccounted for…and this is more than two weeks after the initial fall of the building.

 

These were good people.  No different than us, than you or me.  They got up.

Made coffee.  Or, had a Pepsi.  Brushed their teeth.  Looked into the mirror.

Showered.  Combed or brushed their hair.  Went on-line.   Checked their emails.  They did their shopping, took out the trash and ate their meals.  Some went to work, some lounged around the house.  Some read the paper or read a book.  They turned on the television.

Nothing out of the ordinary, an ordinary day.  But good people.

 

Recently pulled from the rubble were a 3 year old little boy, a 58 year old man, a 21 year old, a couple of 36 year old people and an 80 year old…and another 20 something…

 

Normal.  Everyday.  Going about their own business.  Then, tragedy hits.  Tragedy not of their own doing or of their own making.  They were good people, I tell you.  People just like you and me.  The magnitude of this tragedy is still growing each and every day.

 

That’s what Mark is saying to us…in our pericope for today.

 

The world is a dangerous place.  It was then, and it is now, 21 centuries later.

 

You can be a good person.  You can be a god fearer.  You can have the fear or the love of God in you, and you can still be hurt and left in the rubble.

 

Death and severe injury may occur to any one of us at any time.  We need to be cautious.  We need to be careful.  You can get shot driving down the freeway system.

 

Our death may come because of totally unrelated, trivial, silly reasons.

 

Being a believer, being a faithful and trusting soul may not indeed save you…you can be cut down in your prime, at any time.

 

Again, our world is a dangerous place.  It is and it has been.

 

Even the very best of us can be victim to the very worst.  And that’s a message that those in the first century, and us in the twenty-first century can relate to all too well.

 

So, a case in point.  John the Baptizer.  John, a good man.  A religious man.  A man of God. 

 

If you will remember…way back in the first chapter of Mark’s gospel, the 14th verse, we were told that John was arrested.  John’s arrest preceded the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.

 

Both Jesus and John proclaimed the good news of God.

 

John is not mentioned again until this story.

 

Antipas was easily seduced, easily fascinated, impulsive, and reckless.  Herod could not be trusted.  He was crafty, weak, capricious, and filled with vengeance.

 

Talk about your strange circumstances.  John was the victim of an immature girl, an impotent puppet ruler, a slighted wife, and a drunken boast.

 

For that reason, he was murdered.

 

But knowing what we know, in this age and time, it can take a lot less than that for you to be “offed.”

 

Your shoes, your jacket, your driving ability, the way you look at someone in public or just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

Stuff happens, and it is not always good.

 

The death of John is a foreshadowing of the death of Jesus.  In both cases, political violence is rendered in order to maintain the status quo.

As the followers of Jesus take up his mission, they are to take heed that such a mission could result in the same destiny that met their leaders.

 

Just in case they were getting too excited and thinking this business of being a disciple of Jesus is going to be a walk in the park or a piece of cake, it is not.

 

Ever increasing fame, miracles, and wonders mean nothing.  Following Jesus is not about achievements or glory, it is about HUMBLE SERVICE and HUMBLE SERVICE ONLY.

 

And even humble service can get you killed or murdered.

 

It is not a bright and cheerful gospel message…nor is it meant to be.  It is a dash of reality.  It is a daily reminder…that at any time, at any place, your head too may be served up on a silver platter.  Mark’s gospel presents us with a shot of sobering reality.

 

Like they used to say at ROLL CALL on Hill Street Blues, “you be careful out there.”   Amen.