SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14 , 2014
Psalm 63:1-8, 98; Isaiah 13: 6-13; John 3: 22-30
Sometimes it’s possible to get so deeply into ideas of baptism that we can lose track of the simplicity of water, pouring out over someone’s head, splashing down onto the church floor. Both the psalm and the Gospel today call us back to the necessary fact of water, as Jesus moves about Judea baptizing people, and the psalmist longs for God with the intensity of a thirsty desert wanderer. Some Jewish mystical traditions draw attention to the source of water mentioned in Genesis 2: “a river flows out of Eden to water the garden.” They say that this river of deep joy, the river of the presence of God, now runs underground everywhere. All of our religious practices, such as the one you are engaged in right now—but also being a good neighbor, forgiving, reconciling, healing, serving— all of our religious practices are the tools we use to dig down to that stream of the water of life. In Baptism, we are immersed in this very river of water, immersed in the river of God’s fearless love so that we will always be drawn to the taste of it, so that we will orient ourselves at every moment to the faintly heard rushing stream that runs beneath our feet, wherever we are. Listen for it. Turn toward it. Dig down to it. Immerse yourself in it again today. Remember your baptism, and be thankful.
God of grace, keep me thirsty for you, and help me
The Rev. Jane L. Patterson, PhD, ’93
Jane Patterson served on the Adjunct Faculty since 2010 and was appointed assistant professor of New Testament beginning June 1, 2013. In the Master of Divinity program, she teaches courses in Bible and Spiritual Formation; in the Center for Christian Ministry and Vocation, she teaches a course on the Bible as a resource for pastoral caregivers. Outside the seminary, she is co-director of a ministry called The WorkShop that guides laity in the use of the scriptures for discerning how to live faithfully in all aspects of daily life, and she has served St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, San Antonio, mainly in the areas of adult formation and leadership development. She is currently participating in the Collegeville Institute Seminar on Vocation Across the Lifespan. Her dissertation concerned the use of metaphors of sacrifice in the letters of Paul. She previously served on the faculty as Interim Director of Theological Field Education, 2003-05.B.A., Smith College; M.T.S., Perkins School of Theology; C.I.T.S., Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest; Ph.D., Southern Methodist University