Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Today’s text

Mark 1:4-11

John the Baptist was in the desert, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptized by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. John wore a garment of camel-skin, and he lived on locusts and wild honey. In the course of his preaching he said, 'After me is coming someone who is more powerful than me, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.' It was at this time that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. And at once, as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on you.'


Stay with me, Jesus. Stay with me. I want to stand beside you in the water.

The water is muddy, murky and clouded with the mire of human imperfection--including my own. The water is no mere river but existence, life itself, and it doesn’t run clear and clean.

I need to stand there with you and feel your smile as you know that you are beloved. I need the favor that rests on you to shine also on me. I need to know your arm around me, welcoming me into your belovedness, even as the waters swirl.

I need to be lifted above the rejections and judgments that come my way, which I apparently accept. My sadness attests their power in my heart. My mind is a hall of voices, echoing accusations and denials present and long past, reminding me, as if I needed it, how odd and unacceptable I often am, even to myself.

The voices steal my identity from me and with it my joy, my vitality, my name.

Only now am I willing and able to fight to take it back.

Looking at you in water, smiling, something sparks in me. Certainly, I feel my need for your welcoming arm around me. But I also know the truth that every voice I carry within is a liar.

Only one voice tells the truth of my life, your voice. And you speak to me from the heart of your belovedness as we stand together in the waters. I feel your smile, a smile that is for me, even as you extend your arm and say, ‘Stand with me. Stand with me.’

And we stand side-by side, with the swirling waters around our ankles and the golden light of your belovedness enveloping us, filling our souls with the one truth that matters.

Pr. David L. Miller

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