Wednesday, January 20, 2016

From Above

After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he spent some time there with them and baptized. John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim because water was abundant there; and people kept coming and were being baptized—John, of course, had not yet been thrown into prison.
Now a discussion about purification arose between John's disciples and a Jew. They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing, and all are going to him." John answered, "No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, 'I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.' He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease."
The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony. Whoever has accepted his testimony has certified this, that God is true. He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God's wrath. John 3:22-36 
I have been a bishop for 15 years and have watched carefully what  happens when people get elected to this complicated leadership in the church. All are overwhelmed and some turn to trying to be the imperial leader, while others try to remain one of the people. Some loose all perspective and truly believe they are above all. Humility for them is a lost discipline and they are lost to the office and the people. We as humans often get lost by our hubris and our assumptions. Humility, whether personal or enforced, is essential to our life of service. We can be lost by our arrogance.
John testifies to the authority of Jesus with a humble and loving heart. He has a seen of the larger vision of God, the perspective that is not occluded by our shallow and petty worries. That vision sees the beauty of each creature and all of creation and has honored us by offering the incarnated self present in creation. God is in the midst of us, and we are invited to humble ourselves so that we too can share the vision and serve those we have been given into our care.
Today I ask God to help me to live and serve humbly each day. May we see the beloved Creator in our midst, as we see the love of God in the eyes of those we serve.

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