12 January 2009

Remembering A Baptism

Michael G. Isaacs

Lectionary Texts: Genesis 1:1-5, Psalm 29, Mark 1:4-11, Acts 19:1-7

The writers of Genesis 1 never give God credit for creating water, yet baptism is the very thing that initiates Jesus into his public ministry and engrafts Christians into Christ. What else do we not give God credit for that is transformative and renewing? In Genesis 1, God separates the waters, but the waters that exist before the first day are a sign of an uncreated disorder and chaos. Where else does God’s order of grace, forgiveness, justice, and inclusion come from perceived disorder?

Similarly in Jesus’ Baptism in Mark, the Spirit of God descends on Jesus as he was coming out of the water, and a voice from heaven speaks of being pleased with Jesus. The following poem, based off of this week’s lectionary readings, is titled “Remembering a Baptism.”

Running my hand through the fount

I confront the voice of God

Speaking of a new order.

Where we are created in likeness

And not despair.

Somehow God is fashioning a new order,

Out from all of our chaos—

Our prejudiced laws, profit-driven violence

Our bigotries, avarices, and sadness—

Jesus is leading a new way. Selah.

It is not always easy to believe

That the Kingdom of God has come near,

But then my baptism demands that I see

Redemption and creation overcome disorder.

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