And people from all the Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to John, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. (Mark 1:5)
It had been a long, hot ride in a small bus, but finally we came to a river. Perhaps the river, the river Jordan. We were on the east side of the river, in the nation which bears the river’s name. Since the river is a border, we had an armed soldier with us. We had come to this place, set aside to remember Jesus’ baptism, with no illusions that this was the place that he was baptised. The remembering is what is important. Our group sat on the bank, bare feet in the cooling waters, with tiny fish nibbling at our toes as we again heard the story of Jesus coming to the river.
The Jordan is no magnificent river. No Amazon or Nile. Between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea the Jordan is little more than a creek. It surrounded by a profusion of eucalypts, seeded, it is said, by Australian servicemen in WW2. It could well have been the Hopkins at Ellerslie that I used to cross several times a week. It looked like home. It was a place I had never been to before but I knew a place I belonged.
I scooped up some water in my hand and made the sign of the cross, touching forehead, breast and each shoulder reminding myself of my own baptism and my place with all who bear the name of Christ. Ω
What is this? Lent is the 40 days, excluding Sundays, before Easter. Traditionally it is a time of reflection and pilgrimage. To help you on this journey, Sanctuary has put together daily stories and images from people in the congregation which are focused on God in this place. Why this theme? Read this! #Lent2023. Our Spiritual Geography © Sanctuary, 2023. Sanctuary is based on Peek Whurrong country. Full acknowledgement of country here.
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