Devotion, March 27, 2020
Scripture: Read Mark 1.1-13
When I opened Facebook this morning, this memory from a number of years ago popped up on my screen. The picture was taken at Yardenit on the Jordan River. This is the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism by his cousin John the Baptist. Yardenit is in the Galilee region of northern Israel. (A newer site, named as an UNESCO site, near Qumran in the Judea region of southern Israel, has opened since this time.)
As United Methodists, we believe in one baptism. That is, we are baptized once. We are claimed by God as we remember the words God offered to Jesus, “ You are my child, the beloved, with you I am well pleased.” God has offered those words to each of us at our baptisms and want us to remember them always.
Sometimes there are extraordinary moments in our spiritual journeys that we want to mark with a renewal of our relationship with God. There are other moments that we want mark an experience such as being at the river Jordan after spending days walking in Jesus’ footsteps. There are simply other times that is good for us to pause and remember who we are and whose we are. All are renewing times and moments for us and call us back to our baptisms.
In these days when our routines, structure and order has been taken away from us it is hard to remember God’s claim on our lives and the secure feeling of being God’s children whom God loves deeply and is well pleased. I suspect that it is hard in these topsy turvy days to trust God’s angels waiting upon us as they did Jesus when he was driven into the wilderness and confronted with the Tempter. There is no coincidence in my mind that the temptation stories follow Jesus’ baptism in the gospels. It is through this sacramental act that Jesus has the focus of God’s special relationship with him to get through the 40 days.
It is good to take time, remember. and feel that overwhelming light of God’s love upon our souls, minds, hearts and lives as Jesus did. Here are some ways you might intentionally remember this day:
* when you wash your hands, take a drop of water and place it on your forehead and remember that you are God’s beloved
* find a time each day that you might read a devotion, a scripture verse, be in prayer so that it becomes your routine and feel connected to God and God’s guidance
* create a place for your time to remember God and who you are to God. In this place you might put your Bible, a cross, a picture, a candle.
In these days when everything seems chaotic, remember your baptism. Remember you are God’s beloved child. Remember that God is well pleased with you. Remember that you are not alone, but God’s angels are lifting you and carrying you. You do not need to do this by yourself.
God, thank you for moments that help us remember your deep love for us. We thank you for our baptisms and our place in our Christian family. We thank you for your angels that attend upon our lives helping us to stand and move forward, especially in those times when we feel like we cannot do that ourselves. Remind us that we are not alone, but connected to you and to one another. Amen.