Baptism: God’s Interruption, Imposition, and Interference
~ Rev. David Wynn
We don’t often look at Jesus’s baptism as a scandalous, sordid affair. That’s because we are thousands of years and many cultures removed from the time and place of his baptism. But scandalous it was.
No one in Jesus’s day expected the One, the Messiah, to be standing waist deep in a muddy, unsanitary river surrounded by a gaggle of folks who were called poor, desperate, worthless, common, frazzled, and sinners…waiting to be dunked by John, the crazy, loud, strange, aggressive, self-proclaimed prophet of repentance. But there Jesus was. And it was embarrassing…it was so ordinary and unexpected.
There are lots of theories and theologies out there that try and make sense of exactly why Jesus showed up. I mean, why did God choose that sordid moment to part the clouds and call Jesus beloved? Doesn’t that seem like something that would be reserved for raising the dead or healing the sick? Maybe being beloved doesn’t require certain miracles or anything the world would call extraordinary. What if Jesus was working through all the ways he felt inadequate, ill prepared, not enough, not ready, unclear about what it all meant? Maybe he wanted to feel less alone in the world and these were the people who could really understand him? Maybe he wasn’t the only soul called beloved on that day?
God interrupts, and imposes, on life as usual. Spirit interferes with the way things are supposed to be and “heaven opens”, which is to say that barriers dissolve. Maybe showing up was the “welcome” that was the miracle and the point for everyone. Let’s talk more on Sunday…