When you visualize John the Baptizer, what do you see? I’m asking myself that question today.
One of the fun tasks of my week is seeking out images for our social media, website, and email presence at Charis. This Sunday, we encounter John coming out of the desert, and hear the foreshadowing by Isaiah. Sounded easy.
However, unlike other weeks, I haven’t found much visual inspiration. Not for lack of options: There are all kinds of classic (also syrupy) depictions of the cousin of Jesus. None fit my image, interestingly enough. I love the image in the Cathedral of the Angels in the baptistry, but even that seemed a little too refined and sanitized to be this wild man emerging from the desert.
And so I was transported to my first visit to the St. John’s Abbey Church in Collegeville. There, near their enormous font, stands a sculpture by Doris Caesar. I think it’s almost hideous. (My sculptor spouse, with more refined eyes than mine, saw many points of appreciation!).
I don’t like it because it makes me uncomfortable. This is a rangy, threatening, odd John. He is pointing the way into the font. He’s lean and sinewy, and his eyes are almost vacant — am I supposed to draw them in with my imagination?
Truth be told, this John is probably closer to my John than the Nava Tapestry in L.A. This John beckons, but he’s beckoning us into something wild. Or something perhaps even dangerous. Maybe an adventure. Perhaps all of that, and more.
Come by this Sunday for connection, conversation, and the meal that makes us whole. Fr. John Curran will preside. Mass at 10 .m. and 5 p.m.
Both gatherings of the beloved of the one who comes are held at 7117 Washington Ave. South. Hope to see you! Friends, family, wayfarers welcome!
An Ecumenical Catholic Community
cháris Χάρις khar’ece