Sunday, February 26, 2012
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news." Mark 1:9-15
When our daughters were small we tried to encourage them as much as possible. We all need encouragement, and we tried to set an example with regular praise and words of encouragement. We said "good job" so often, I think, that it came back to us mockingly as they became teenagers. A sassy, "good job Mom" could get us rolling in the aisles. In the past few days, as I have struggled to learn how to use my broken, healing body right now, several times I have heard the "good job" or "you're doing great1" Such small encouragement but it is a huge step in the bay step department that is mine for the next few weeks.
Jesus was beginning his ministry and humbly sought out John for baptism. John was reluctant but did his bidding, feeling somewhat reluctant, baptizing the one who was to come after, the Savoir of the world. Even for Jesus there was one step at a time, one affirmation he needed as he moved forward in his ministry. "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." These were the words that would carry him through the next trials and temptations, the challenges and rocky roads. And these are words for all the beloved whom God holds close. We are asked to hear the love that God has for us, the encouragement and daily participation that is God's love in our struggles too.
Today, I ask God to help me give thanks for every positive step, every helpful person, and every sign that healing is coming. May each day be filled with the reminder of God's constant presence in our constant struggles. And may we not lose hope, knowing that each small step forward is a mark of God's love writ large in our lives.