Scripture: 9 One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. 10 As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. [Mark 1:9-10 NLT]
Fall is over and the folks up north are probably relishing the thaw and warmer weather to come. One of the best parts of fall is when the leaves turn colors and fall. The array of colors is amazing. The display is worth paying attention to and many people travel great distances just to enjoy it. As a kid growing up in Michigan I loved the colors of the leaves for sure. The part of fall I liked even more though was the aftermath- once the leaves have all fallen and lay all over the ground. This is usually the part adults disliked because the leaves all needed to be raked. A kid, however, doesn’t have the same concern. I loved the leaves on the ground because they could be gathered up and played in. You could bury your friends, have leaf wars, and throw the leaves in the air as high as you could. The leaves literally represented hours of fun.
One of my favorite memories was laying in the front yard beneath a very large oak tree. At a certain point in the fall the colorful leaves would begin to fall. As you would lay underneath the huge oak tree the leaves would fall all around and over you. On windy days it would feel as though the tree was raining leaves on top of you. If you stayed there long enough the leaves would cover you almost entirely. It was a pretty cool feeling to be covered in leaves as you continued to watch more leaves falling down from the tree.
I sometimes think of that scene from my childhood when I read the Scripture passage for today. I have no idea if the imagery conjured up in my head is anywhere close to what actually happened. In any case I can see the heavens opening up and the Holy Spirit floating gently down to rest all over Jesus. Jesus had just been baptized in the Jordan River when the Holy Spirit descended upon him. This is, of course, when the voice of God declared how pleased God was with the Son. What an amazing experience that would have been for Jesus. Experiencing the third person of the Trinity falling upon the second person of the Trinity while the first person of the Trinity voices pleasure over the second person of the Trinity was nothing short of a truly holy moment.
The descending of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus was also a foretaste of what ALL who receive salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ would experience. Our experience of receiving the Holy Spirit is more than likely less dramatic than what Mark describes. However, each person who has received the gift of salvation has received the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has fallen on you. Today live your life as someone who has received the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. You may even wish to say the words “fall on me” throughout the day today as a reminder. You have received the Holy Spirit already, but perhaps these words will help conjure up the image of the Holy Spirit continuously falling down on you and covering you. You can also repeat the Prayer to the Holy Spirit (below) today. Make the Holy Spirit welcome in your life today.
Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, fill the heart of your faithful and kindle in me the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and I will be created. And you will renew the face of the earth. Lord, by the light of the Holy Spirit, you have taught the heart of your faithful. In the same Spirit, help me to relish what is right and always rejoice in your consolation. I ask this through Christ my Lord. Amen.