Crying in the Wilderness

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The following is a poem and meditation on John the Baptist. John is a window to a season each of us will experience if we are knowing Christ in His death. It is the place where we know, of a surety, that we will die—perhaps physically, but also psychologically. In the shadow of death, all truth comes into question, all direction is as wandering, and we are unsure even of the Lord Himself. The believer that comes to this place doesn’t stay there. In the Lord, death always leads to resurrection. But this poem explores the feeling of finality that marks true death in the Lord, and the choice that we face there.

***

“Are you the one who was to come,
or should we expect someone else?”

That day by the river—
in front of God and everyone—
I pointed at him
like I was leading the cavalry
and cried out,
“Look!!  The Lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world!”

Later,
as my disciples were leaving by droves
to follow him,
I braced myself,
and explained to one of the few remaining,
“He must increase, and I must decrease.”

I believed it…I believed it…
I believed it so much
it was my undoing.
And because I believed it,
everyone else started believing it.

But now, in this prison,
the dead air grips my bones
with both hands
and shakes the cage of my ribs.

Now,
the stench of wasting humanity
makes my head spin
like a busted compass.

Now,
in the twilight of my heart,
it’s either him
or me,
and I need to be sure.

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