Readings: Isaiah 11:-15 & Matthew 3:7-12
In the days leading up to the baptism I met with the family including the big brother of the candidate for baptism. When I say big, he could have been as old as three years of age. On the date in question, I remember being dressed in this alb, walking through a paddock marked with fresh cattle poo, to get to the building that was missing a bottom step and having a decidedly dodgy second step.
Baptism is something even we, as adults, don’t fully understand and often misunderstand. We look at the words in our two readings and try to grapple with the Holy Spirit (difficult enough as a concept) bringing wisdom, understanding, strength, direction, knowledge and the love of God to the receive, as it says in Isaiah, and then we see in Jesus’ own baptism at the Jordan river – the heavens cracking open, a dove descending and a booming voice from heaven saying: ‘This is my son, marked by my love.”
It all seems like a mystery. And guess what – that’s how it should be!
In our world we have been conditioned to see the world as something that can be analysed, qualified, measured and empirically tested. Our senses as well as our minds become the tools to do this understanding. Belief, even faith, have little or no part in this world view. We choose to look with our own eyes, not those of another, to understand.
Yet with our eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin, we cannot discern the existence of air, yet we know it is there.
Similarly, using empirical experiments we cannot prove that ‘love’ exists. Yet I’m sure many of you believe in it.
Maybe we can’t see ‘air’ and ‘love’ but we do see its outworking. We are alive because of air, we see the beauty of creation because of the air that surround this little planet in the middle of the cosmos of the Milky Way, which sits as a tiny backwater of stars, moons and planets amongst much more grand galaxies beyond our imaginings.
Similarly we see kindness and goodness that result from the existence of love. We see acts of love when Alana and Wendy bring forth Baby Khaleesi to receive God’s blessing.
Let’s then change the focus of our eyes, our minds, our Spirits from ourselves and what we understand, to the majesty and blessing of a God who created life and love for all his creation.
“This is my child, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.”