Lent Devotion, Thursday, March 8, 2018

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When Jesus had received John’s baptism, “just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove upon him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

I’ve never seen a hole in the sky. Although a few weeks ago, it almost felt like one was there. Snow was in the forecast, but there wasn’t a flake in the air as I walked to my car in our driveway. I opened the door, sat down, and as I put my arm out to shut the door—BAM—snow suddenly began pouring down. I had never before seen a snowstorm start with such intensity. It was if the heavens were torn apart, and the snow came tumbling down.

The story of Jesus’ baptism isn’t about meteorology, but theology. And as is often the case, there’s a hint of the Hebrew Scriptures here. Isaiah 64:1 says, “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, . . . .” The prophet yearns for the reality of God to come near, and longs for God to come to earth.

God responds to that yearning with Jesus. In Jesus, we see something of heaven on earth. In his life, death, and resurrection, the compassion of God is poured out for the renewal of all creation. All things are not yet made whole, but God is at work, giving signs of healing to our hurting world.

Our Father, your will be done on earth as it is heaven. Break through barriers that separate. Tear down walls that restrict. Pour your Spirit upon us and open our hearts to the life giving word of Jesus. Amen.