Here and There

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Faces of Easter Week Three

This week's story is about Jesus' baptism in the Jordan. For the past few years, I've poised myself here at this story looking behind and before this moment with true significance. It's a hinge, opening the door to Jesus' public ministry, which is really also opening the door to Jesus, God and people experiencing an intense, beautiful relationship for these few months. This intensity kind of unfolds in the story itself, and the pace of the Godly Play story feels a sign of the ways people will see God in Jesus.

First, John names Jesus as the Messiah, there in the middle river, in front of everyone.

But that's not all, "There were people there that day who saw a dove coming down from heaven and coming near Jesus."

But that's not all, "There were also people there that day who heard a voice from heaven saying, 'This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.'"

But that's not all, then he walks away.

This unfolding in the story feels particularly careful because the phrases, "There were people there that day who saw..." and "There were people there that day who heard..." gives the feeling of eyewitnesses, of people glimpsing God. It feels even more mysterious as a narrative told this way, and it gives all these moments of revelation, maybe you only saw one or heard one but it all comes together to make a very rich picture of God's presence. Hear John, see Jesus go down and see Jesus come up. See the dove flutter down, Hear the voice from heaven. It feels like there is no distance from God and people. He'll show them any way he can, I'm here, I've always been here. I speak, I'm always speaking. Here in the river, I am always here. Here in the dove, here in the voices of your family and friends. Here in the "darkness and chaos of the water" and then also in the light. Somehow in Jesus, it coalesces. And then he departs, but something of the knowing remains.

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