with Rev. Rachel
15 CONCERNING JOHN Luke 3
I may have already told you about how this nearly inexhaustible bit of wisdom first came to me. It was a divinity school thing. I can their wise, jovial, outright funny voices as I type: “Stay in your lane.”
By which was meant something more nuanced than “mind your own business”. We were lifting up the boundaries that are helpful for self and others. When one of us spoke too forcefully outside our knowledge-zone or we too regularly chimed in before receiving another’s contribution, it was time for a lane check.
It takes a fair amount of trust and goodwill for these words to be exchanged and actually be a force for good. I feel like we have precisely those conditions at the breakfast table I inhabit most Tuesday mornings. Y et no one told me I needed to stay in my lane this week! I was for sure swerving.
We were discussing Luke and his account of Jesus’ baptism. I carried on for most of the hour as if John were there with Jesus when it happened. That much would be true according to Matthew 3. But we weren’t in Matthew.
I could have at least taken the time to notice the verses before the start of Sunday’s section! ”But Herod the ruler had been criticized harshly by John...he [Herod] locked John up in prison (vv.19-20).” Nope. On I went with what this moment probably meant to John, still imagining John on the scene, a free man.
Realizing my gaff the next day, I thought of this lane-staying business. Though no one said Rachel May, stay in your lane, our practice of being present to one other and to the Scriptures had brought to light my swerving for me to notice.
If being prepared is a way to honor one’s lane; and allowing ourselves some unuttered thoughts is another; maybe keeping our appointments with community is a third. I think what I’m trying to say here is that we ought to keep showing up to people and places where we are likely to notice when we are all over the place. God uses groups to reveal so much more than things ‘concerning John’ (v.15) which to this reverend, this week, feels like mercy.