Sometimes the intersections of life and lectionary aren’t quite so pleasurable. This week was one of those. As a Pennsylvanian, the release of Louis Freeh’s report of the cover-up of the child sexual abuse can’t help but make one pause. Then to face the beheading of John the Baptist in the lectionary. Do these weeks really have to overlap?
Although the power dynamics between Herod and John are fascinating, what really captivated me this week was Herod’s daughter. (Named Salome by a Richard Strauss opera) This daughter who is made to dance for Herod at his birthday party. Something tells me she was not dancing Swan Lake. Anyway, I can’t help but think, here we are 2,000 years later, and we’re surprised at the silence of an institution. Really?!?
We’ve been reading a story with a nameless daughter dancing for her father and his friends and most of the commentaries pretty much avoid comment on this one. Some of what you read blames both the daughter and Herodias for Herod’s actions. Seems to me like our pattern of shame, blame, and re-name are well established.
Perhaps the question now isn’t about what to do about what WAS but how will we live tomorrow?