March 21, 2019

lent 1 — beyond the wilderness

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

…Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.

• Luke 3:21-22, 4:1

beyond the wilderness

my child
my beloved
the one who pleases me
the one who carries my spirit

remember this
remember this
do not forget this
don’t lose this

when you find yourself dry-mouthed, dizzy, and faint
shading your eyes against the knife blade brilliance
and trudging along a hardpan path to nowhere

you, that just shook the water out of your hair
you, that felt refreshed, renewed, reborn
slippery clean skin squeaky, supple

remember this
remember this
do not forget this
don’t lose this

you may well want to go back
you may well want to find another way
hell, you might want to curl up in a ball and die
right then and there

but you heard the voice that interprets all voices
you drank from the stream, you felt the embrace
you were handed the map to lands beyond the wilderness

remember this
remember this
do not forget this
don’t lose this

don’t lose this

Comments

  1. Thank you. Needed this right now.

  2. Robert F says:

    It’s easy to remember the bad things, the pain and loss; it’s almost automatic, requiring little to no effort. Remembering the good is hard work. I don’t think you can really remember the good unless you are grateful for it, and practice your gratitude for it. The practice of gratitude for good things activates and empowers memory to recall it when the times aren’t so good. But minus the practice of gratitude, bad memories will dominate — Christ have mercy on us.

    • Robert, I agree.

      But this is not just about remembering “good things.” This is about remembering an event I don’t even remember — my baptism. And clinging to the promises I received there without even being sensible of them.

      • Well stated, I’ll try to remember they way you phrased this, “Clinging to the promises I received there without even being sensible of them.” I too needed the reflection and your explanation. Peace.

      • Robert F says:

        Yes, of course, CM. The practice of gratitude is even more important for “remembering an event I don’t remember”: the free gift of salvation given to me in baptism by Jesus Christ. How else would I learn to cling to “the promises I received there without even being sensible of them” in the hard times, when suffering makes even the memory of normally experienced blessings falter?

      • Christiane says:

        Maybe there really IS such a thing as a ‘genetic memory’ . . . . humankind seems to have some universal needs that are ‘shared’ among us, we do seem to have some universal consciousness of what is right and just, a sort of universal consensus on what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil’ . . . we KNOW as a species, we are conscious of things that are not ‘material’, we experience universal ‘feelings’ of love and grief, but also of longing and it is this LONGING for something that may be applicable to that phrase ‘the promises’

        Chaplain MIKE, I found this: Your response to me is spot on. It was then, and it makes sense now.

        “Christiane says:
        September 9, 2014 at 7:57 am
        ‘ . . . there they were, “by the rivers of Babylon,” longing for home’

        I was fascinated the first time I read that in Jewish tradition, Adam continued to ritually bathe in the rivers that flowed out from Eden, thereby maintaining a connection to it . . . and then I learned about the ‘purification’ rituals of the ‘mikvah’ and I remember asking an evangelical Christian if he thought that there was a ‘connection’ between the origin of the ‘mikvah’ tradition and the Christian practice of ‘baptism’ . . .

        he said ‘no’

        but I cannot say that myself, the transcendent imagery is so strong that there must be some element of meaning that ties the two together . . . although I can’t ‘know’ this, but I ‘sense’ it must be meaningful, if only in the hope and the yearning for a cleansing from sin and a returning to God

        Chaplain Mike says:
        September 9, 2014 at 8:36 am
        Christiane, that’s what John’s baptism was about, and it is why he did it at the Jordan, where Israel first entered the Promised Land. Through John they were returning from Exile to the garden God had given them, preparing for the One who would be to them the Tree of Life.”

  3. Ronald Avra says:

    Very helpful meditation for this Sunday.

  4. Remembering what we don’t remember. I call that faith !!!

  5. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    That desert scene at the top is Southern Arizona.
    The saguaro cactus is specific to the Arizona/Sonora desert.
    (And movie/cartoon American Deserts everywhere.)