Simon Beck walks in the snow. He walks and walks and walks. The purpose of his walking is to create art. Using mathematical formulas and wearing special shoes, Simon spends countless hours, walking for miles, making huge patterns. If you were beside him, you’d be unable to see much except a series of impressions; the full pattern is only visible from the air. (Check out his astounding work here.)
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’ [from Matthew 3]
As we consider the baptism of Jesus this week, we see a calling at the ground level. An interaction with his cousin John the Baptist, a brief walk into and out of the river. But the spirit, from a bigger God-perspective, signals something larger. From a distance of a few decades, the gospel writer can see great patterns that were always there but difficult to see. The patterns include Jesus’ life experiences, his words and acts, the people he encounters who shape him and are shaped by him, the successes and hardships. From a distance of a few centuries we look to find patterns in the gospel story of the one who was baptized in the river.
We also consider the patterns of our own lives. We go through our days, sometimes with design and purpose, sometimes just getting through. Forwards, backwards, sideways. But we are also making patterns that are visible only to the creator. These patterns include our life experiences, our words and acts, the people we encounter who shape us and are shaped by us, our successes and our hardships.
As you move into and through 2017, may you be intentional about the patterns you create. If you become discouraged because the pattern isn’t easily discernible, remember that the spirit has the larger view, that God sees the intentions, the influences, the forms, the interim results that aren’t quite complete.
God sees it all, and blesses it.
© 2017, Melissa Bane Sevier