Image Credit: Mubi

Today’s Author: Anne Christ.

When I was in seventh grade, my friends and I expended a great deal of our time determining who was ‘Popular.’ While it was never clear what it took to get into the Popular Crowd, a variety of other labels cropped up to categorize those of us who were not Popular: smokers, nerds, band kids, farmers… the list went on and on. Whether Popular or Not, we all understood a social hierarchy that prevented us from getting too close to anyone in the other social spheres from our own.

We don’t lose that compulsion to label people, do we? Nowadays, we might take one look at the kind of car a person drives, or learn what college they went to or suburb they live in, and decide we know all we need to know about that person without ever having reached out to have a conversation.

Evidently, the same need to label and categorize has been with us humans since the beginning. In this week’s text, the Pharisees are desperate to affix a label to John. Just like our junior high selves, they want and need to elevate him – Messiah? Elijah? Prophet? John evades definition. He pretty much only will say what he is not, or alludes back to Isaiah, calling himself the ‘voice that cries in the wilderness.’  John won’t even say why he is baptizing, and only hints at the coming messiah and his greatness. I think I’d like us to be a little more like John – defying description or definition. I’d like to think that, in resisting being labeled, I might be less inclined to label others.

Let us pray… Gracious God, thank you for each and every human. Help us to be open to the things we might learn from one another when we put aside labels and boxes. Help us see that each of us is a unique gift and important part of your family. Amen.

Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community.  If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday contact Pastor Peter.