2014 January 12: The Dove Descending
"Immersed in the River of Life" W. Zeitler
The Texts for this Sunday are about Jesus’ baptism, a story which follows right on the heels of Jesus’ incarnation. With that in mind, there is a sense in which His incarnation itself is a brief plunge into the river of human life. A plunge down, down, down – as St. Paul puts it ‘he emptied himself’ (Phil. 2). And then He comes back up into the air of Eternity with the Resurrection.
It is easy in the routines and worries of daily life to become blind to the extraordinary that is all around us. As children explore a world that is brand new to them, they teach us yet again the incredible miracle that is a snail. Or a dandelion. Or Christmas tree lights. In those moments we are submerged once again into the River of Life. And then we come back up to pay the bills and take out the trash.
We can also have those liminal, sacred moments in worship, or encountering great art, or Nature. Or even in the loss of a loved one, when we are confronted very forcefully with just how precious to us they really are.
Wait, on the one hand the Incarnation is Jesus’ temporary immersion from the Eternal into the Temporal, but on the other our own moments of sacred encounter are temporary immersions from the Temporal into the Eternal!
The Greek word BAPTIZO used in the New Testament means ‘to immerse’. I would suggest that the same Dove that descended on Jesus at His baptism descends on ALL our momentary baptisms in life.