Wednesday, 12 May 2010

When Best Man Goes Bad, Man

Have you ever been at a wedding when the Best Man upstaged the bride and groom and made himself the focus of attention - a little like the cartoon on the right?

Probably not, for the simple reason that it's unthinkable - not in the sense of "impossible to imagine" (like a one-ended stick) but morally outrageous.

Had John the Baptist tried to muscle on in his ministry and not make way for Jesus, he would have behaved like the inappropriate Best Man at the wedding.

The problem with that line is that we read it from the perspective of life under the curse of the fall, where all is about self-aggrandisement and self-glorification.

In our shrivelled little hearts we can only conceive the (survival of the fittest) idea that if one person goes up the ladder of prosperity, someone else somewhere else has to go down. If one person is getting the attention of others, the rest melt into the shadows.

The natural conclusion from that starting point of the Fall is to say that in this statement, John the Baptist bizarrely accepts his disappearance into anonymity to let Jesus take self-aggrandising centre stage. We then comfort ourselves with the theology of "Well let's face it, he's God, so he's allowed to." And that of course is true, but it is also misleading.

You see, if you make your starting point, not the vague mist of your own fallen existence, but rather the rock-solid eternal God of love who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, then the sights, smells and sounds of this statement take on even more glorious hues, aromas and harmonies.

Far from turning himself into a person-less cypher, the great forerunner of the Bridegroom is simply getting his life into harmony with the song that the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit has enjoyed singing eternally.


More to follow...

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