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Friday, January 05, 2018

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Baptism creates a crisis. Life after crisis can never be the same as it was before. Change--that anxious "C word"--happens. Since Mark suggests that only Jesus heard the "voice from heaven" perhaps even he was changed--had a clearer idea--of who he was. In any event we who hear this story now know something about Jesus and his divine nature that we didn't know before. Jesus, is the beloved Son of God. We need to pay close attention to what Jesus says and does, because he'll give us insight into what sort of God, God is. As the season of Epiphany begins, Jesus "sheds light" about the nature of God and God's purpose for us.

Another "crisis" noted by the story is that the heavens were "torn apart"--not simply and gracefully opened. Jesus' baptism changed heaven. Even so, our baptism changes us. We are joined to God as our name is pronounced in the same breath as the name of God. Baptism is death--we are "marked with the cross." Baptism is resurrection--we are "sealed by the Holy Spirit."

Oh God, we're so often afraid of change, afraid of being changed. When you call us to follow you on paths we've never trod, into situations we've never experienced, to people we know little or nothing about, give us the courage to know and trust that you walk among us wherever, whenever, whoever we are. Amen.

J. David Whelan, '95
Pastor of Visitation and Care, Central Lutheran Church, Chippewa Falls, Wis.

Mark 1:10-11 (NRSV)

10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.
11 And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."

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