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Friday, January 13, 2017

Today's Scripture Reading | Mark 1:9–13

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. (NRSV)

Let’s put ourselves in this guy’s shoes. You’re in your thirties and your parents have always treated you like you’re a little . . . special? But all your life has been working with your dad in a small town—what’s special about that?

So you go to the river where a guy has been making a reputation for baptizing people, talking about renewal and purpose. Given your situation, that seems like something you could use. So you go see him, and he takes you into the water and puts you under.

When you shake the water out of your eyes, it looks like the sky is ripped open, and this thing comes flying down at you, not diving like a hawk, diving for your skull, but more like a dove—a circling descent until it touches down on your head. Then you hear it, that voice, coming out of that rip in the sky, saying “You are my Son, the Beloved.”


And everyone’s looking at you funny. You ask if they saw that, and they say “Saw what?” You tell them, and then they’re really looking at you funny. No one else saw anything.

What do you do with that? Maybe take some time away on your own—say, thirty-nine days, give or take—to process all that and figure out what now. Because that sort of declaration is not something you just walk away from.

A call is hardly ever “Oh, wow.” It’s usually “Oh, no.” And the bigger the call, the more uncomfortable it is. And it’s usually for your eyes only, like in this passage where Jesus is the one who sees the dove. Learning who we are can be terrifying, because then we become accountable in a very personal, very immediate way.

Let’s put ourselves in this guy’s shoes. We are children of God, beloved of God. So, what do we do now?

Lord, remind us of who we are and of what we are called to do, even if it scares us, even if it seems too immense. Nerve us to the task, and keep it in front of us until we finish our part. Amen.

Written by Rob Koon, Coordinator of Fine Arts

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