Mark 6:28

and, bringing his head on a dish, gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother.

death by order is orderly
one step at a time
deepens the plot
one step at a time
builds tension
one step at a time
a final solution holds
one step at a time
realization sets in
one step at a time
consequences arrive
one step at a time
next choices arrive
one step at a time
hearts are hardened
one step at a time
repentance settles in
one step at a time
we choose who WE ARE

In a banquet setting, the detail of a plate or platter suggests a next gruesome course that could only be supplied from Mrs. Lovett and her Pie Shop, connected by a tunnel to Sweeny Todd’s Barbershop, which is next to St. Dunstan’s church.

We have cut out the middle-man, Herod. John’s head goes from a soldier of the guard to the girl to her mother, turned from being the butt of a joke to a preying mantis in a move too quick for eye or mind to comprehend.

Ironically, it won’t be all that long before Herod and Herodias are no longer rulers. Josephus strongly implies their demotion was directly tied to John’s beheading.

For now we are back again with some grudging respect for the careful preparations made by all those who have an obsession with their perceived status in life. This is something that cuts across the artificial secular/religious boundaries. Those who will use the rules of the game—a slip of the king’s lips or ever more detailed purity codes—position themselves to always have the advantage be theirs.

The disciples themselves and religious leaders in their wake have played the same game of Now I’ve Got You—that ends up with someone else having enough demerits attributed to them that, when G*D grades on a curve, the most astute rule-player can be on the Heaven side of the line. Arguments about who is the greatest, who gets assigned a position of prestige, who gets paid the most for their inside information, and more, go on and on.

A story that started with Herod acting to arrest John ends with Herodias being the power behind the throne that ends John’s arrest with death. Jesus is not to be found in this long story. Was it a glorified car chase needed to make this a blockbuster? A shaggy-dog tale?

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