16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Can’t you just see this scene in your head? The moment that Jesus comes out of the water is bright with the sun and God’s glory shining down. And the voice from heaven declares Jesus’ majesty for all who would hear it. Whether the voice of God was physically heard throughout the crowd or just felt amongst a few disciples, we cannot know. What can be said is that this moment of “awe” not only defined the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, it also helped establish the holy sacrament of baptism.
The holy sacraments are thin places that are not simply defined by our earthly actions. These sacraments, which are baptism and communion, are part of God’s holy mystery that we cannot fully explain or understand. But while these celebrate our closer connection to the Divine, they also celebrate our Awe-inspired connections to one another in God’s Holy Name.
Even beyond the sacraments, perhaps we know of other Awe-inspired moments that connect God’s people to one another. Many times we experience these connections in ways that cannot be fully explained. It is the holy mystery that connects just the right strangers to one another in a crisis, or the way we feel compelled to call a long-lost friend in their hour of need. It is the moment a twelve year-old innocently calls out the behavior of some misguided adults, as well as the way a group of musicians creates a symphony that moves us to tears. The holy mystery that binds us together in love is the mystery of Awe-inspired love from God.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
What are some Awe-inspired moments that leave you wondering? How have these moments changed your perspective of the Divine? How do these change your relationships?
Prayer: Holy Spirit, thank you for your Awe-inspired moments that capture our attention, drawing us closer to you and to one another. We know that we cannot see the world as you do. Yet we pray that you might increase our awareness. Help us to see moments of awe in all of life: in all the things that we see, hear and do. May we, in turn, share your Awe-inspired love with others. Amen.