There was man sent by God named John, and I was sure at eight that he was sent to liven up otherwise dull Sundays. Oh yes, I knew Jesus was the hero of the story. I knew Jesus was God. I knew Jesus loved me because the Bible told me so, but Jesus was so…well…good. It was a little sickening really.
My pastor said this John chap was good, but I looked at the evidence. This John was a wild child. First, he ate bugs, people. BUGS. Top that in an eight year old’s scorecard! Also, along with his bugs, he apparently liked wild honey. I liked honey too, and as everyone knows, the common interests are what bring people together. Also he was vastly opinionated, had a certain sartorial splendor, and ticked off authority on a regular basis. Plus he lived in the wildnerness, which really sounded rather blissful. So I always perked up when John was mentioned as something exciting was surely going to follow. I was never disappointed.
Neither has been the church. John is the only saint whose birth, and not his death is celebrated on the calendar. In part, this was a political move to distract new believers from those wild summer solstice festivals just as Jesus’s birthday was a distraction from the winter ones. But it is also a tribute to his monumental signifigance within Christianity as well as to John himself.
Being dull-minded, scholarship opines that the “locusts” John ate were not the hippity-hoppity kind, but the pods of the locust tree, known in modern parlance as as carob. Scholars in my experience though are frequently wrong, but to be optimistic on the topic, carob’s not bad so long as you don’t go around pretending it’s any sort of substitute for chocolate, but take it on it’s own terms. Also it’s easier to find than actual grasshoppers. So if you wish to make carob and honey brownies, by all means do. I’ve eaten worse.