And so the extravagance begins, wild, outrageous, vulgar grace. Isaiah the prophet saw it coming -
Can you see him? - he is coming, right before your eyes,
to prepare the way.
Can you hear him? - he is howling from the margins
'The Lord is coming,
First came John's dare to be baptized, plunged beneath the water's surface, to mark time and change and forgiveness. They came to him from country and city, Judea and Jerusalem, all of them confessing, naming wrongs for all to hear. John pushed their soiled lives into the muddy Jordan. John was of the earth, camel-hair robe, leather belt. He lived on grasshoppers and wild honey. His message was always the same:
He's coming, soon, much more than I'll ever be. I can stir muddy water but He will plunge you into the Spirit of God.
Then he was there, Jesus from Nazareth, and John pushed him face-first in the sin-filled river. As Jesus stood tall the sky tore and the Spirit fell to him like a dove.
A voice out of the sky: You are my son, the loved one.
Then the Spirit wrangled him, still dripping wet, into the desert where wild animals lived. Jesus was badgered by Satan forty days and nights.
The angels were close at hand.
Then John was handed over and Jordan's surface was stilled. Jesus tramped into Galilee announcing something good: And so it begins. Grace, now. Turn around and believe.
Two things -
1. Any word or phrase that seemed to stand out, demand your attention? Do you know why?
2. Let me be very clear - this is not a translation, probably not even a paraphrase. It's the gospel according to Mark according to John.