Jesus Praises John the Baptist
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
These wonderful sculptures - The Kelpies - attract lots of visitors who can enjoy, as well as a tour recounting their engineering, lovely walks around the Forth and Clyde Canal. They have enhanced a beautiful area of the Scottish countryside and encouraged many visitors to explore and enjoy that beauty.
But Kelpies were scary characters in Scottish mythology and folk tales - malevolent water horses who lured the innocent to watery deaths! The creation of this wonderful tourist attraction has somewhat redeemed the Kelpies!
It has long been acknowledged that often prophecies can be self fulfilling. If we are pessimistic about something for long enough, our pessimism is often rewarded! Expecting the worst, we often fail to notice when our expectations are confounded.
Of course we cannot merely wish good news into being. But, expecting a good outcome opens us up to the possibility of seeing the positive things that are around us.
When the disciples of John the Baptist went to find out if Jesus was the promised Messiah, Jesus asked them "What do you see?"
The work of renewal in the church involves changing the narrative. Operating, not out of a place of fear fuelled by stories of decline and death but from a position of belief in the transforming mission of God that is ongoing in the world. Renewal involves telling a different story- one of excitement and risk and faith and of a God who loves and invites us into mission today. We cannot wish renewal into being but we can be involved in changing the narrative by sharing the stories of love and faith against the odds that are all around us today, seeking out the places we see God at work and working alongside God in the places we inhabit, transforming the darkness,bringing good news stories to life.
It's time to change the narrative.