On June 24th, the birth of John the Baptist is celebrated. It is called St. John’s Tide and is celebrated with bonfires all over the world.
I seek to share with you an understanding of the personal meaning and personal application of the gesture of John the Baptist. John’s life is given great attention by the the Gospels. John had a personality and life of complex significance and I would need to write a small book to address the meanings and applications of all that we are told about John in the Gospels. Since this is a brief post that I hope will inspire reflection and growth, I will only address two of John’s gestures. These are his two gestures of recognition of Jesus. In our modern consciousness of intense individuality and isolation, the ability to find in our souls the willing recognition of what lives in another soul is essential and challenging.
The two responses John has in relation to Jesus can inspire similar responses as we interact with all others. The first recognition is the
The first recognition occurs when the newly pregnant Mary visits her pregnant cousin, Elizabeth, John’s elderly mother. The child in Elizabeth’s womb, John, joyfully leaps with life when the two women greet each other. The John fetus recognizes existence of the Jesus fetus.
When have you felt in your soul a joyful leap of life at meeting another? We speak of “love at first sight.” If we take this “love at first sight” experience out of the romantic context and put it into a spiritual context, we begin to get a sense of this “John the Baptist” moment of recognition. This moment is a response to the other’s divinity coming into being. The nascent divinity of this other person you are meeting for the first time fills you with joy, crystalizes your life force and energizes your soul.
Recall the moments of your life when what you recognized in another caused you to fill with joy and leap with inner aliveness. It might also be the recognition of a phrase or a paragraph of thoughts that sparkle with truth and wisdom. Or a work of art that is filled with beauty. The more you allow yourself to recognize what is both new and ageless in another’s soul or the manifestation of this soul in word, art or deed, the more you build and refine your sensitivity to the divinity in others.
The “other” may be a family member, a friend, a colleague, a stranger. or a lover. The recognition may be subtle or profound, brief or lasting. You could have this experience of nascent divinity once in your lifetime or thousands of times.
Now we will imagine the 2nd gesture of John the Baptist:
Thirty years later at the River Jordan, John recognizes Jesus of Nazareth and declares His Presence to others. This declaration initiates the three years of the full expression of the Destiny of Christ Jesus. Jesus requests that John baptize Him. John is humbled at this request. Baptism was a cleansing of the body and John could not imagine that this Being in front of him needed cleansing, but he did as he was requested. This Baptism is the Birth of the Great Deed for humanity’s future.
What in your soul is capable of recognizing the time has come for deed of another to manifest? Are you willing to call out to others that something needed has arrived? Are you willing to humbly serve the individual and her or his destiny?
In each of us, divinity dwells waiting for recognition and support. This is the Jesus within. In each of us, recognition rests waiting to declare and to serve the divinity of the other when their time has come. This is the John within.
At Christmas time we go into ourselves seeking our own divinity. At St John’s Tide, we seek our ability to recognize the divinity in others and imagine how our own divinity can serve what we see as their divine deeds for serving humanity’s future.
I find such fulfilling delight in these two aspects of the John within: To know the empowering joy of seeing the spiritual seed germinating in another’s soul and then seeing and serving the flowering bloom of that seed.
Do you see the germinating soul seed? Do you resonate with the new life you experience in another?
Do you ever feel your heart calling out – I see you! You have come! I will serve your requests!
Take some time on St John’s Tide to recall all you have recognized in others over the last year – the germinating seeds and the blooming flowers? Gaze at those around you today and let your heart tell you what you recognize.
St John’s Tide is a joyful time. Enjoy.