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It is Now, Not Then, Jan 7, 2024

Mark 1:4-11, Epiphany 1B,

Theme: Infinite Grace

Neurologists tell us humans only gain an understanding of what they experience by relating to their past experiences. A baby, for instance, is confused about its surroundings not because they lack fully developed senses, but mostly because it has no context within which to relate to what is perceived.

When we compare our present experiences with what we remember from our past and find incongruencies, we are often confused, and have the propensity to become fearful. We are forced to find a way to respond. We can struggle to come to some rational explanation of our new experience (acceptance) or run from it (denial).

This Sunday’s lectionary text takes us to the Jordan River in about AD 30. There was a man many thought a prophet who preached the coming of the Messiah. He was known as John the Baptizer. He also performed a Jewish act of purification called baptism. On the day described by the writer of the Gospel Luke, a man named Jesus came to be baptized.

John recognized him right away as the Messiah. John also recognized that this moment in history would change everything. It frightened him, a reaction which all of us would recognize as normal. However, John did not panic. After some encouragement, he baptized Jesus whom he identified as the Messiah.

When Jesus came out of the waters of the Jordan, a new era of humanity began. On the banks of the Jordan River, that instant made everything people knew of the past a distant memory. Every past event revered by the Jewish people would be seen through the events which were about to transpire over the next three years.

Today, as we look back on those earthshattering events, we can truthfully claim what was “then” makes the “now” meaningful.

Come join us at First Christian Church in Warrensburg, Missouri as we contemplate the now, knowing of the transforming life of Jesus from then.

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