Week of Proper 7, Year Two[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 80 (morning) // 77,  (evening)
I always thought that John the Baptist’s diet of locusts and wild honey was simply an eccentric sign of his wilderness ministry. But in light of today’s reading from the prophet Joel, someone who consumes locusts might be a sign of hope that we can finally bite back against the forces consuming us.
The prophet Joel has a grim message of destruction for his people. Four successive waves of locusts have damaged the people’s crops, vines and trees: “What the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten, and what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten.” One by one, new species of locusts gnaw away until nothing is left.
When John the Baptist came eating locusts, people must have known that things were finally taking a turn. While Joel prophesied destructive swarms of locusts, John the Baptist devoured the locusts themselves. Joel envisioned devastated fields, destroyed grain, and ruined crops. Farmers wept, and the ground itself mourned. But there is hope in voices crying out in the wilderness, in prophets like John who call us to life-giving waters. We can turn against the plagues and ferocious hungers that seek to consume us.
Lora Walsh blogs about the Daily Office readings at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.