John said: “He must increase but I must decrease.” And this has been such a puzzle to me. Aren’t we not ranking things, firsts and lasts, isn’t the gospel message one of love and abundance?
This just sounds so un-abundant. But the very first bits of autumn are in the air where I live. The air in the morning is crisp, it is darker a bit sooner in the evening, the leaves aren’t turning but they are hinting at turning. I’ve had to start cutting out the dying plants. And it was a sudden thought about how nature increases and decreases that has sort of turned me about. You can’t rank an oak in winter, so gray and still, as being lesser than an oak in summer so mighty with life and greenness. They are same tree. It is increasing and decreasing. It’s a natural cycle; it is how it works.
So now I am thinking that’s more in line with what the Baptist meant – it is just natural and proper and orderly that he decrease, that this season of preparation has passed; Jesus is here, the Bridegroom is here, very human, very God. Here. It is time for this season of joy, healing, redeeming, unbinding, mending, whatever metaphor you like for the Jesus Season.
Or maybe I just came to peace with this bit of scripture – for no reason at all. Just a gift of peace!