Baptism Redefined

enlightenmentMark 1:9-11

That was when Jesus came. He arrived from Nazareth and John dunked him in the Jordan River. As he emerged from the water he saw the universe as it really is, and he felt it resonate to his core: that he was God’s precious child, and God was joy.

Baptism is the moment when you connect with the universe and know who you are. It’s the moment when you experience every atom in your body resonating with the vibrations of the air all around you, and you simply know without anyone having to tell you.

We talk about baptism as if it were something that happens in church, as a rite of initiation, as an affirmation of faith, as a symbolic action. But its not. It’s an experience that will happen in its own way according to who you are. Call it enlightenment. Call it alignment. Call it self-awareness. Whatever you call it, it is the joyful, awesome moment when you know in your bones that you are in sync with the world. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with holy water or church.

Remember that moment. That’s the moment on which the meaning of your life turns. Stay true to that moment and, come what may, all will be well.

Walk Away

wilderness sign
Photo credit: bopacasi

Mark 1:1-8

It all started with Jesus, the child of God.

Isaiah the truth-teller wrote:

Watch! I’m sending it out on the early warning system so you will be ready –
A clear signal breaking through the noise:

“Get the road home ready.
Straighten up!”

So John showed up in the middle of nowhere, dunking people in a river telling people to straighten up because it’s time to break free. People came from everywhere, even from Washington DC, to renounce their misdeeds and get cleaned up in the river.

John dressed in ratty coveralls and leather suspenders. He kept to a strict vegan diet. And his message: “Get ready for someone so cool I’m unworthy to even tie his shoes! I just got you wet. He’ll set your life on fire!”

Usually, people go to Washington to have their big rallies and protests. Not John. Against all the advice about how to lead a movement, John’s strategy was to get the people out of Washington. In Washington, the movement is in danger of selling its soul for access. But the whole point of the movement is to break free.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be Washington. It’s whatever and wherever bad habits and old misdeeds are tying your hands, keeping you from really living. It’s whatever and wherever traditions, taboos, rules, corporate cultures, or group-think, or your “my (mother/father/3rd grade teacher/fill-in-the-blank) said I’d never amount to anything” script hamstring the greater good that is calling. John is about getting you to walk away from all of that, just walk away, get out of there, even if it feels like you’ll end up in the middle of nowhere – so you can be ready for your life to catch on fire!

Go ahead. I dare you. John dares you. Walk away.