14King 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.” 15But others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16But when Herod heard of it, he said, “‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”
17For 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. 18For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20for 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. 21But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. 22 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.” 23And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” 24She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.” 25Immediately 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.” 26The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. 29When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
- Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
- Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
- As you pay attention to your breath, remember a time you had someone beheaded against your gut feeling. (Use your imagination, please! But you know what I mean!! At someone’s expense, you have used them to better your position.)
- Remember how it felt when you made the decision.
- Did this feeling lighten over time or get heavier?
- How did others chime in regarding your decision?
- Did these words lighten the decision or make it heavier for you?
- As you recall, who laid the body in the tomb? (metaphorically, of course!)
- Did you take part in this? Or did you stay away?
- What has transpired since then?
- As the feelings come back to you, have you found reconciliation?
- If yes, remember the feeling of reconciliation and give thanks to God.
- If no, take time to bring this burden to the Lord.
- There is nothing that will keep you from the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ. As you present your burden, feel the love and forgiveness that Jesus Christ has to offer you. Give thanks to God. Breathe. Allow the breath of God to cover every inch of you. Feel the forgiveness and love cover every inch of you.
- Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
- Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 15, 2012, the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD.