… and Lysanias was ruler of Abilene.

Luke understood
that every story has a context,
that historical and cultural settings shift
and shape the meaning of a life.
Unconcerned with the trivialities
of diet and apparel, the gospel teller
identifies emperor and rulers
before presenting us with cousin John,
son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, who steps
outrageously from among the rocky hills.
He will preside, for a season,
over Jordan’s troubled waters.
The Baptiser, so-called, spoke
with the courage and recklessness
of Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah
and all the others,
who, centuries long-past,
had been foolish enough to listen to,
and believe, the divine word.
The world, into which John
intruded his annoying message,
was wounded, tear-washed and bound.
Its dwellers had long accepted
the prevailing necessity of fear,
greed and suspicion, never guessing
that there might be an alternative.
Much like us.

The Baptiser called for mountains
and hills to be levelled,
and winding roads and tracks
to be made smooth and straight.
He warned all of us less than perfect people
to straighten out our twistings and evasions;
to prepare ourselves for something new.
A new someone who might just come
to drive a crazy cosmic bulldozer
through the obstacles of human living;
and then will come the grace.

© Ken Rookes 2012


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