March 9, 2003

Mark 1:9-15

At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God's Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit, a voice: "You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life."

At once, this same Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by Satan. Wild animals were his companions, and angels took care of him.

After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee preaching the Message of God: "Time's up! God's kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message."

[The Message]


1. It is amazing how we sometimes claim insight into the Spirit. There is the bringing of a message of inclusion and chosenness. There is the sending into exile and testing. Who, in their right mind, can make sense of this. Our best laid explanations are filled with justification for the way we want to see things. The Spirit becomes a blank slate upon which we write our fantasy.

2. Wild animals and angels are another of the strange ways in which things are bridged. Jesus is connected with the imagery of the Garden and the Prophets. Jesus is already in relationship with the empty tomb and being cared for to the nth degree - beyond fear and in the midst of eternal, heavenly alleluias.

3. So we come to the time of arrest for John and being set free for Jesus. We find time completed and kingdom begun. We come to change lives and and thus beliefs. We come to change beliefs and thus lives.

Around and around we go through the Lenten season. Learning again and again the humility of being in relationship with GOD. To enter that relationship begins a bumpy journey, unpredictable in its arc and full of surprises that run from our natural inclinations to the mystery of life in all its fullness.