from Deacon David…
Words have power only if they point to things that are real for us in some tangible, experiential way. The word eclipse became much more real for me this year. I saw the diamond ring, the crown, and the strange light of the eclipse for the first time. I will never unsee what I have seen. It’s an image from life now vividly and forever attached to the experience of wonder and awe.
I want to see if I can find the strange light of wonder and awe in what Jesus said to Peter when he acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah: “Blessed are you, Simon…for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.” What does this mean, in a tangible, experiential way? Remember Jesus’s experience at his baptism.
As Matthew told the story, when Jesus climbed out of the Jordan River after being baptized by John the Baptist “…the heavens were opened to him and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.” Baptism opened Jesus to experience the spirit of God. The spirit touched him, saying, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
Jesus had been anointed, first with the water, then with the spirit of opening, naming, and blessing. That was Jesus’s experience of the strange light of wonder and awe. He would never be the same. He could never unsee what he had seen or un-experience the wonder and awe of being opened and energized as a beloved child of God.
Matthew is saying, in essence, “Human teachings have not revealed to us that Jesus is the One filled with Spirit, but the One filled with Spirit himself/herself who is lovingly alive in you.” Events occur all around us, but events happen inside us. Jesus as the Messiah is happening in our lives when we experience the spirit of opening, embracing life, and being blessed. Opening, embracing, and blessing are the dynamics of Life Itself in the dance of the Trinity, the movements of the Eucharist, and our relationships with one another.