Key Text

Mark 1:1-12

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, "Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way; The voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'make ready the way of the lord, make his paths straight.' "
John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. And he was preaching, and saying, "After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. "I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
And it came about in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; and a voice came out of the heavens: "Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased."
And immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness.

cited from the NRSV

Image of the week

9 February 2007

Kings Canyon, Northern Territory
(photo: Gary Heard)

For the previous image click here.

 

Present Context

For Reflection

Think of an experience in life where you stood on the brink: either literally, such as the vista opening up on Kings Canyon to the left, or when life circumstances left you pondering on the edge of something radically different.

Where was God to be found in these moments?

Mark's Gospel commences with a succession of experiences 'at the edge'; first John the Baptist appearing at the edge of scoiety, then the crowds going out of the centre of the city to meet him, among whom was Jesus of Nazareth. Following his baptism, Jesus was driven into the desert - further towards the edge - by the Spirit.

What do these passages say to us about the places where God is at work, and the directions God calls us to go?

Recall the feelings which engulf you when facing such challenges: what moves you to continue? How do you find strength and focus? What is your instinctive reaction about God's purpose and presence in these moments?

 

Prayer:
As people who are used to comfort, help us to find you at the edge, Lord God. Teach us to overcome our fears and trepidations so that we might be able to move into a new space, or granted a better perspective on our present.

God of Jesus Christ, who was born in a stable, emerged into ministry in the Wilderness, and was ultimately crucified outside the city wall, teach us to understand the importance of keeping the edges of our life enlivened by Your Spirit.

Amen.