I love it when Sacred and secular meet in a holy kiss. I intentionally anticipate those moments that just appear in the right way at the right time. It is as if God occasionally winks a knowing wink with the intention of saying, “you’re gonna be ok – I’ve got this.” We just have to LOOK for those moments.
In VBS lingo, it’s called a God sighting. In pastor mark lingo, it’s when the Sacred appears in the midst of the secular in a way that grabs our attention and conveys in an image what words are too limited to convey.
The image of Jesus on the cross is one of those God sightings. The crucifixion tree used by the powerful to impose their will on the helpless and re-enforce the hopelessness of rebellion was a powerful secular symbol. That was its purpose.
But when Jesus embraced the tree with His outstretched arms, the Sacred showed up in the secular and literally transformed the symbol of hopelessness to the symbol of faithful victory. The Sacred showed up as a life-giving God sighting. For those who have eyes to see, the image and the Divine message in it are alive forevermore. For 2000 years, pastors have been trying to describe that moment with words and we all have come up short.
I was recently blessed with a much more “gentle” image – but it was very powerful for me – so much so, that I lost track of my words. Mom was holding her baby in her protective arms. The inquisitive child dressed in his baptismal gown that connected this family together for generations was watching all the strange people around him. Three pastors hovered expectantly nearby. A family had gathered to witness God move. Baptism can be so simple and yet so complicated. People have written books and churches have split apart over disagreements about what is happening in that moment.
Because of COVID, we are using a little glass pitcher to gently pour baptismal water onto the head of the babies in that holy moment.
Feeling this child’s inquisitive nature, one pastor took the small pitcher of water and placed it momentarily and playfully in front of the baby. But what happened next was totally unexpected. The baby reached out with both arms, grabbed hold of the pitcher, pulled it to his mouth – and kissed it.
Ok, ok, perhaps the soothing feel of the warm water drew the baby’s response but I saw something in that moment that words cannot describe. The Sacred appeared without words, without fanfare, without preplanning or conscious thought.
Many years ago the band Mercy Me recorded a song that lives on in my heart called “Word of God Speak.” The lyrics are these:
The prophet Isaiah captured a similar God moment saying:
Maybe we all just need to have a God sighting to get through the day – and the week – and the month – and the season of life we are living right now.
Maybe we do need to remember that we are baptized and JUST BE thankful.
Maybe, we need to anticipate the Sacred appearing right here in the middle of our otherwise stressful lives with a knowing wink from a loving Heavenly Father.
Maybe, we actually are people who just need to remember whose we are to sustain us in all things.
Hey maybe what we all need to do is just kiss the water!
We’ve been called BY NAME through it by One who does not forget.
It’s gonna be ok, God’s got this ;).