This week’s For People is based on the below excerpt from Bishop Wright’s sermon for the Preaching Excellence Program.
Many preachers are scared of John the Baptist so they dither about with what he ate or what he wore rather than what he did. What he did was to co-create moments with God so hearts could change. What he did was refuse to placate people or reduce to pablum the notion of true repentance. What he did was model the freedom that comes uniquely by the Spirit. John scared the clergy then and he scares the clergy now. It is easier to mock him as a zealot than be transformed by his zeal. John was Jesus’ big cousin. Their mothers had been pregnant together. Their mothers bumped bellies in a doorway long ago and sang songs to each other of God’s fidelity. John and Jesus had been in dialogue since before birth. It was John who was Jesus’ revival preacher. John preached with power, but he also lived that power. Even Herod was afraid of his power. John had moral clarity and because of that he had moral authority and that produces courage of conviction.