Of what relevance is St John the Baptist to us today? His message to the people was to repent or radically to change their thinking and outlook. He proclaimed that people should look beyond themselves and develop a social conscience. He encouraged them to look at the phenomena of the world with new awareness for life, in order to overcome the prejudices and fixed thoughts from the past and to be open to see what is new and above all, what is changing. A repeated theme of his was “Change your thinking”.
His message was that we should find balance between the extreme polarities of our feelings as we find our way through life, as we swing between the heights of happiness and jubilant ecstasy to the depths of depression and despair. Of course we cannot present the powerful words of St John to children, at least, not their content. The soul picture brought to the children is one of the little light that will be guarded and held in their lanterns and of the journey of this little light to the big fire.
Another picture of St John’s message of inner development can be found in comparing the lily and the rose. These flowers are completely opposite to each other. The pure white lily can be seen as the flower of the beginning, representing our innocence.
The rose, on the other hand, represents finding a way through our guilt to our true selves, as represented in Goethe’s drama, Faust, where there is a struggle for the soul of Faust who has just died. The decisive turning point occurs when blossoming roses drive away demonic spirits.
Between the lily and the rose is the path of life, which St John the Baptist pointed out to humankind.
Caroline Joseph, Kindergarten teacher (Reference: “Festivals with Children” by Brigitte Barz)