“Like a Dove”

GOSPEL | JOHN 1:29-34

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’  31 I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.”  32 And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.  33 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’  34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

As I read and reflect on today’s lectionary passage, the phrase that echoes within me is John’s fanfare: “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” His brazen, trumpet voice fills my soul, offering me that Lenten hope and assurance that my salvation is at hand!

I know (some of) the sin within me, and I know my reluctance to come about Spirit-ward. I am lazy and slow to repent after the Spirit’s disruptive, unpredictable gusts. The Son of God comes with the baptism of the Holy Spirit, wholly faithful and responsive to the Spirit’s leading, even unto death on the cross. His life and his death are for me, for my living, for my highest good. His very life is a compelling invitation to follow him, with the guidance and encouragement of the Spirit.