Beyond Wood and Stone

Rev. Elisabeth's Cedar Park Blog site

Advent 2 & 3: John the Baptist

Instead of ‘writing about’ the texts concerning John the Baptizer, I’m offering this as a meditation/poem/reflection. I hope you ‘enjoy’ – if that’s the right verb.   Elisabeth

His name is John.
A tough life he’s led,
        partly by choice,
        to be sure.
His daily companions, honey bees,
and a rude belching camel,
who, when she finally breathed her foul-mouthed last,
gave up her pelt to cover his back
through the icy chill of  desert nights.
        Oh yes, the desert freezes.
The sun beats down, baking to a crisp all day,
chapping lips and drying tears, and salting cheeks
so that the night frost can then bite to the marrow,
and chill the mind.
John is his name,
wildman his calling.
It’s no wonder,
      given his birth to a silenced prophet and a wise crone
      both convinced by an angel that he was
formed awefully,  fearfully in his mother’s womb
expressly to overthrow
the comfortable numbness of quietism,
to uproot hypocrisy with scorching speech as searing as the desert sun
and to foretell divine judgment with the icy candour of a desert moon.
Wild eyed John,
matted- haired,  stick-ribbed John,
searching the desert sands for that
narrowest of  highways
upon which the sandalled feet of God’s Anointed
would trample
all injustice in his Advent.
John is his name
“Repent!” is his logo.
Change! Begin Again!
John is his name.
Baptizer is his trade.
Waist deep in the rocky Jordon,
thrusting  heads under brackish water,
clutching slick, newborn hands
grasping for air,  for life.
Until  the sandal-footed Anointed One
                                                                 ©Elisabeth  R. Jones, 2008. 2011


  1. My only response is: you wrote that, Elisabeth? Wow! It is very powerful. Thanks for sharing:).

  2. erjones

    December 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks Lisa!

  3. As I read this through, I thought that finally, someone is making this man come alive for me! It was amazing to read it. Then I discover it was you Rev. Elisabeth and am filled with wonder at what you know and can put into words. Indeed, you are making the Bible come alive for me. Thanks so much.

  4. Elisabeth: Is there a way to get a copy of this poem, please. It is indeed a meditation I’d like to keep for Advents.

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