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Friday, December 08, 2017

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John the Baptist will be forever marked by his diet and wardrobe: locusts, honey and a
camel-hair shirt. In the starkness of his lifestyle, we could easily forget that he says one of the most important things in the New Testament. Speaking of Jesus, he proclaims, "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." Even before Jesus begins his ministry, John the Baptist knows that Jesus' work will extend far beyond his brief life here on earth. John knows that Jesus' works involve the whole Trinitarian being of God. People like John the Baptist sometimes live on the margins. They sometimes don't quite manage to learn all the right social cues. They just sort of appear in our neighborhoods. Would you have let yourself be baptized by him? Yet, people on the margins are often the ones who understand Jesus' power the best. They often see the Spirit in ways the rest of us cannot.

God, who are the baptizers in my neighborhood? Help us to see those who continually prepare the way for Christ to come into our lives and our hearts. Amen.

Amy E. Marga
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.

Mark 1:1-8 (NRSV)

1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,' "
4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
7 He proclaimed, "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.
8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.