First Congregational Church Winter Park
Daily Meditation: “Sacred Confusion” -- Wednesday, August 12, 2020
“Then Jesus came to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then John consented.”
- Matthew 3:13-15
Poor John The Baptizer. He’s confused by Jesus. He’s in good company.
It would make sense if Jesus as The Messiah came and baptized John instead, and John knew it. But of course, God’s ways are not our ways and God’s thoughts not our thoughts, to coin a Biblical phrase. So, instead, God’s purpose is fulfilled by having John baptize Jesus. Did John understand that in the moment? Probably not.
It would also make sense if Jesus as The Messiah didn’t die an agonizing death after being betrayed and abandoned by his closest friends. And yet, had he lived out a long and normal life he probably wouldn’t have made the impact he had on the world and we might not even be speaking about him today. Did the disciples and his close circle of friends and family understand that on Good Friday? Again, probably not. And again, God’s purposes are fulfilled in ways we might not expect, understand or even like. And yet again, God’s ways aren’t ours.
A journey of faith is often being in a state of sacred confusion about just what the heck God is up to. Sure, there are moments of epiphany and clarity, but often we’re left wondering what is going on, what the purpose and meaning of things are, and why things unfold the way that they do. Like most of life’s perplexing moments, we understand Purpose and Meaning through the unfolding of time. What was confusing in the moment makes sense in the context of hindsight, and we begin to have understanding. Does that mean we’ll “get it” the next time we’re in the middle of our next moment of sacred confusion? Maybe, but probably not.
What it does mean is that we can have faith that there will be a time yet ahead of us when what is presently confusing will make sense to us, and we needn’t let our confusion frustrate us. Meaning will come, and purpose will be found. We just to have faith and be patient.
Then, like our poor friend John, we will understand and trust that God’s ways that so often confuse us lead us to sacred understanding.
Mysterious God, grant us patience and faith when we are confused and frustrated by our lives and our world to see your holy purpose unfold and gain deeper meaning.