In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Matthew 3:1-6
There is something about water. It is essential to life and it renews and refreshes us. The sun setting over the water captures our attention and a storm over the ocean is always an monumental event. Water can soothe us , rock us and drown us. The sea yields an abundant supply of food but the challenges for those who fish and harvest the vast waters. The water can carry us away and bring us back home.
John took himself away from center of the city, away from the religious spaces, and went down to the river. He invited people to be renewed, baptized and transformed in God's love. The water washed over them, they were brought low and gasping, rose out of the water to new life. Our present day baptism is symbolic of the ancient practices, a way of going down to the water to be born again into the family of God. We are beckoned today to the edge of the water, seeking God's blessings and transformation.
Today I ask God to help me leave the center and head out to the edge. May we trust God as we are submerged knowing that we will indeed be renewed.