The First 15

Friday December 31, 2021

by Sharon Reid

Today is Friday, December 31, and this week we are exploring what the Bible says about finding Christ.

Opening Prayer

As I enter into prayer, I pause to be still, to slow down my breathing, and to be more fully present with God in these moments.

Pause and Pray

Holy Spirit, help me release my worries and concerns into your care as I rest with you in these moments of stillness. Amen.

Scripture Reading

I choose to delight in the Lord, joining with the ancient praise of all God’s people in the words of Psalm 119.

Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law

and obey it with all my heart.

Direct me in the path of your commands,

for there I find delight.. Psalm 119:34-35 NIV

Pause and Pray

Today I am reflecting on the baptism and wilderness experience of Jesus Christ.

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. – Mark 1:9-13

Reflection

Three things I look for while reflecting on the scripture passage today.

Pilgrimage. A journey of seeking, often to a sacred place, as an act of devotion.

Incarnation. God became flesh and was born on earth as Jesus Christ, who was both fully human and fully divine.

Epiphany. The revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi. An epiphany is also a moment of sudden revelation or insight.

As I look for pilgrimage, I notice that Jesus traveled from Nazareth to the Jordan river to be baptized. And, following his baptism, I notice that the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness for forty days where he was tempted by Satan. Angels attended to him there. Could temptation be something I might experience on a pilgrimage? Do angels attend me as well?

I notice incarnation and epiphany intertwined as God’s Spirit descends on Jesus like a dove, and God’s voice confirms their relationship, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Ask: What has been most helpful about this week’s practice of looking for pilgrimage, incarnation and epiphany?

Pause and Pray

Holy Spirit, guide me in my thoughts and help me notice what you want me to see and hear as I slowly read the passage once more.

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. – Mark 1:9-13

Ask: What did the Holy Spirit guide me to notice this time as I read the passage?

Pause and Pray

Lord, help me look inward and pay attention to what you have led me to see and hear. I invite you to transform me in these moments so that I might reflect the thoughts and actions of Jesus Christ throughout this day. Amen.

Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. – Psalm 100:2

Closing Prayer

Father, prepare me to live this day being faithful to you in every way. Jesus, help me serve others with your compassion and grace. Holy Spirit, transform my inner thoughts and motivations so that all I do, I do to please you. Amen.

The First 15

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