Monday, September 19, 2016

Getting Into the Story

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

My tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all day long. - Psalm 35:28

Anna worshiped with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. - Luke 2:37-38

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 107:33-43; 1 Samuel 10; John 1:14-28

In the verses for today and the texts that take us through the whole Bible in two years, we have several scenes where a person gets into the stream of God's story, becoming a part of it, and helping it to continue. The word "prophet" is mentioned in connection with Anna (Luke 2), Saul (1 Samuel 10), and John the Baptist (John 1). The two sections from the Psalms are also about remembering and retelling the story of God's steadfast love. Every one of these scriptures tells about someone who has been abiding in and reflecting on God's story, soaking it up over time. Each one has something like a call story, as an occasion comes along when the story needs to be told, and that person is the one who is at hand and is chosen to tell it.

Today, my mind connects these stories with baptism. Yesterday, it was my honor to baptize another child of God, the youngest daughter of the congregation I serve. She was surrounded by love and support (one of the biggest baptismal entourages I've ever seen!), cleansed and claimed and called in the water and the Word, marked with the cross of Christ forever, and presented with a candle, lit from the Christ candle, that represents her life in Christ shining forth in the world. She has been born into the story. Her mom and dad and the other people around her have committed to making sure she knows the story and her place in it. And in time, there will come her moment to take the role of a prophet, abiding day and night in the story of God's love, seeing in the world where God is unfolding the story in new directions, and announcing this truth to someone who will need to hear it.

And actually, her work in the story has already begun! She has helped me to see again my place in the story, as the one who has traveled this long, strange path into ordained ministry that allowed it to happen that it was my hands that baptized her, and my voice that spoke God's words of promise. She has enriched my faith, and helped me to see God's love in yet another life. And now I hope she will do that for you too!

God of love, thank you for creating your story of grace and redemption and abundant life, and thank you for extending it into my life. Help me to live in constant awareness of this story, and let my place in it be one of the ways you reveal it to the world, one person at a time.

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