Day 6 (Monday)
February 22, 2021
During Advent, we learn that the good news begins with John the Baptist shouting in the wilderness and “everyone in Judea and all the
people of Jerusalem” following him out of the city to the Jordan river to be baptized, to repent, to change their hearts and, consequently,
their lives (Mark 1:5). This is a moment of mainstream conversion, of widespread openness to truly hear the cries of one shouting out, to
leave what they had known behind to follow a new path. This, Mark tells us, is when Jesus’ ministry begins—with a community earnest
and eager for change.
Mark tells us nothing about Jesus’ life prior to this moment, omitting any details of his miraculous birth or the years of his youth. Instead, Mark notes that Jesus comes from Nazareth of Galilee (over 100 km north of Jerusalem) to join John the Baptist’s movement. We might expect the long-awaited Messiah to greet his new followers like the kings before him have—with a pompous coronation, with hunger to exert power and control over his populous. Instead, Jesus steps in line along the river’s edge, blending in with the crowds, joining in solidarity with those around him. Jesus doesn’t demand any attention, but as soon as the water washes over him, creation is summoned to celebrate. I imagine him wading into the waters and leaning back to receive the blessing that falls upon him like rain: You are my beloved. I delight in you.
In this moment, God-in-flesh joins alongside those he will heal, beckon, teach, challenge, and comfort. Simultaneously, God-in-Spirit meets Christ at the water’s edge, at the threshold of his ministry. Before Jesus faces the pain, betrayal, and challenges of what will come, before he does anything to prove himself, God grants him unconditional belovedness as his essence. From this, all his subsequent teachings and actions flow.
—Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity
Read: Psalm 121
Reflection Questions: What images of God are comforting to you? Where does your spirit need comfort?
Prayer: Gracious God, Scripture says that you are my keeper, which floods me with images of cradling hands softly catching me. I imagine I could slip through your fingers if I wanted to—the freedom is there. However, as long as I want to be here, you have me. What a comforting idea that is. I think I will stay. Amen.
—Prayer by Rev. Sarah Are | A Sanctified Art LLC | sanctifiedart.org