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Heightened expectations unleash in and among us a palpable and playful wildness. Emotions stir. Our senses go on alert. We wonder and speculate. We ask questions: “What’s the buzz? What does this all mean?” Throw “Messiah” into the river and the waters quiver. And John the Baptizer does not disappoint!...
What expectancy stirs in you regarding baptism as a past event to be reclaimed in the present? In what ways have you or do you experience the wildness of Spirit-wind?
Water is an important theme throughout the Bible. The authors of scripture use water as an image of transition and sometimes challenge and always tie it back to God’s renewing work. Isaiah records the divine promise that God will not abandon Israel, even if they pass through trying waters—a reference to the deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians. The psalmist declares that God’s voice covers all the waters, so nothing can come against us that is beyond God’s reach. In Acts we see the connection between baptism—passing through the water—and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The emphasis is on the inclusion of the Samaritans, a group considered unclean by many but not by God. We see clearly the connection between water baptism and the Spirit in the baptism of Jesus himself.
Read Isaiah 43:1-7. Isaiah presents an image of God’s favor that is at once particular and universal. How do you experience God’s love for you as part of the body of Christ as well as for all persons?
Read Psalm 29. God’s creation, in its wildness, incorporates destruction. In the face of disaster, how do you find a way to say, “Glory”?
Read Acts 8:14-17. Our baptism is in the name of Jesus and the name of the Spirit. To what wildness does the Spirit prompt you?
Read Luke 3:15-17, 21-22. Remember your baptism and listen for God’s call out into the wildness of the world.
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"God comes to the woman who feels in exile in her own marriage. To the man who grieves the loss of life dreams. To the child who lives on the street. To the parents who struggle to feed and clothe their children. To the one whose loneliness or depression intensifies every Christmas." Click to watch video.