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Daily Devotional for January 25


January 25                                                        Mark 6:14-29

Today's Scripture reading tells of the beheading of John the
Baptist because of a foolish promise made by Herod during
a drunken orgy. Because he wanted to save face before all the
officials and leading citizens of Galilee, Herod lacked the
courage to deny Salome's unreasonable request.

Like Herod, our modern-day political leaders also often seem
drunk with power; they set policies which interfere with the
self-determination of other countries and then save face by
denying any covert or illegal involvement. Some make pledges
to balance the federal budget and when they do not succeed,
they save face by blaming an increased deficit on previous
administrations. O God, give our civic leaders the moral
courage to speak out like the Baptist on behalf of the poor,
and to work for an economic order which would effect a more
just and equitable distribution of this world's goods.

Like Herod, some of our church leaders are also so drunk with
power that they seek to control the intimate, private lives of
others. They save face by appealing to church doctrine, all
the while failing to ask forgiveness for past and present
religious intolerance, racism, and sexism. Help our leaders,
O God, to preach, like John, the spiritual coming of the Christ
instead of exalting their own traditions and teachings.

I, too, am like Herod, for I have locked up the holy person
I am meant to become, and I say things to please the crowd.
I am often unwilling to admit that I made a mistake, or to
apologize for offending another. Help me, O God, to experi-
ence a true conversion of heart so that, like John, I can prepare
the way for your reign.

My prayer today, O loving God, is that our civil and ecclesi-
astical leaders, and I, too, may overcome the weak Herods in
ourselves and grow into the strength of John. Amen.

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.198

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