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Friday, February 3, 2017

Week 2: Submarine, Day 10: "I love it when you call me big pop-pa"

Week 2: Submarine
Day 10: "I love it when you call me big pop-pa"

Heart Day Word:
Ἀββᾶ: The Greek Biblical word used for "Papa"

The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God’s Spirit—it looked like a dove—descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.”
-Matthew 3:16-17 (the MSG)

His soaked hair is tossing glistening arcs back into the river, his eyes blinking away the excess as his hands rise to wipe them clear. All a nation's yesterdays are running off of him as the sun browns his skin through the magnifying lens of each droplet as they evaporate. On the buzzing, crowded Jordan banks a newborn baby cries from a young mother's hip before getting the boob. A rabble of riff-raff is out there squatting on rocks in various stages of putting dry clothes back on or shelling down into their swimming loin cloths for their turn to get clean. They are bad hombres. Deplorables. Nasty women. Disillusioned throngs, mocked by the arrogance of their leaders. They are people who turned off their tv's. People who are done with polished pastors and their building funds for mall-like temples and live-streaming satellite campuses that deliver something less interesting than the theaters are selling. They are people done with being pawns to power and media and coupons. Done with buying things they know made slaves of somebody. SO over it. The half-hopeful hordes just dropped their crap and went out to the desert. This hippie, Occupy Jerusalem nut job, John, will at least be more interesting than what's on Netflix. But when some of them go out into the water, in that vulnerable public moment, they aren't just saying, "I'm done with all that the world is today" They are saying something more personal, "I think I'm finally done with me."

These noises, and smells, and textures spice the moment. John's camel down shirt is stinking like a wet junk yard dog, his teary eyes staring into those of the man he has just dunked. John's are full of faith and expectation and confounded satisfaction, and something that says, "Dear God, please be who I think you are." An otherwise unnoticed fish risks a flashed nibble at a callous on the toe of the freshly immersed one then scurries off over rounded rocks webbed by undulating wisps of aquatic sunlight. The "Son of Man" as he will call himself, still dripping ripples into the world below him, looks vertically to see something like magical kinetic poetry, and he laughs: Of course, a dove! This is perfect! Oh, this is so good! Of course! YES!

What looks to be a common white pigeon has come flailing forward to tread air overhead. The Spirit hovering, flapping over the deep,uncertain currents of a brand new thing, born, like all babies, after the water broke. Of course a dove! Like the one that brought back a branch of the new beginning as the flood waters receded. But, he realizes, with the thwap-thwap of mysterious air on his shoulders and neck, this one is landing in a radically new port. This is NEW "New Creation". This one, he thinks to himself, is going to tell the sea-stranded that I AM their dry land.

Then, THAT VOICE. It just about pulls his heart up through the top of his head just as this pigeon of perplexing perception alights.


The sound warmly floods the canyon corridor, not booming, but close to every ear as if they were the newborn baby hearing their own Father's somehow previously familiar voice for the first time out in the world of air and fluctuating temperatures.

Critique had been a heavy cloud filling that Jordan valley. Justified critique: There's a lot to be pissed off about. At no moment is there more need for change than right before the bowl of Creation gets stirred by the finger of God. The groan and ache and fed-upness of a generation was so dense that even the rocks and trees were craning for a chance to be included in the revolution if the people wouldn't go with its flow. It had been labor up to this point. Preparation. Clearing a way for this moment, like painting the baby's room long before the birth. Only this mom had had so many stillbirths that it just felt easier for her to think of the pastel tone on the walls as primer for when they would finally just turn it into a craft room.

Somehow, subconsciously, everybody now hit by the sound of Fatherly affection that filled the valley had previously imagined that any change that might possibly come into this gloom would have to be a mounting, cathartic, angsty roar or a mass psychotic break with a march back into the city to depose the tyrants, slit the throats of their security forces, burn things down and tear shit up. This would be a birth through blood. But nobody had seen it coming. Not this water birth. Not the way that each one would lay down their angst, their swords, and own up to their own desperate sense of insufficiency and humbly admit that they needed a bath. That their hands and hearts were dirty too. Nobody had expected how that would be met with Divine affirmation and the declaration that God sees us, just as He saw that dripping man singled out by the Spirit. Sons. Daughters. His pride and joy.

And we had no idea what that warm, familiar voice would do to us from the inside out.

"What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to."
1John 3:1

"This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!"
Romans 8:15-17

"But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance."
Galatians 4:4-7

Photography from Mark Tipple's Underwater Project

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