Gospel – January 11, 2020 – John 3:22-30
Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea,
where he spent some time with them baptizing.
John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim,
because there was an abundance of water there,
and people came to be baptized,
for John had not yet been imprisoned.
Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew
about ceremonial washings.
So they came to John and said to him,
“Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan,
to whom you testified,
here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.”
John answered and said,
“No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven.
You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ,
but that I was sent before him.
The one who has the bride is the bridegroom;
the best man, who stands and listens for him,
rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.
So this joy of mine has been made complete.
He must increase; I must decrease.”
Have you ever had that epiphany about who and what you are? It happens on so many levels. Maybe a sibling is better at something you thought you were best at. Maybe a friend comes in and takes over leadership because they are just more gifted. Maybe you were the best athlete only to have someone surpass you. Maybe, you think you have things under control only to have them spin out of control.
We all have gifts – just not the same gifts. We aren’t all called to be the cover photo, the voice, the one everyone else recognizes as the lead. Some of us are meant to set the table and then to step aside. If we make it about us it can become – messy.
John in our Gospel today is stepping away. He has had that epiphany – when he baptized Jesus. Now he’s fading out of the picture because one more gifted is come.
It’s difficult to step aside because as humans we need affirmation – to know we matter. John recognizes he did matter but now it’s time to step aside even though his apostles are jealous of Jesus for John’s sake – or maybe a little for themselves. They, too, are stepping aside.
Have you ever had that epiphany? Have you ever been relegated to the shadows? It’s not because you don’t matter. It’s that your part is done. It’s not that you didn’t matter because without you we never get to where we are.
Take heart. Rise up. You have run your race and now you’ve passed your baton. Cheer from the edges and know without you the one who follows you doesn’t even get into this race.
Are we comfortable with who we are?
At least that’s what I heard Him say…