In my study hangs the photograph of a brilliantly colored, stained-glass window depicting the Holy Spirit’s descent in the form of a dove. The dove has long been a symbol of peace and tranquility, but in Mark 1:1-13, the descent of the Spirit brings neither peace nor tranquility. As soon as the heavenly Father announces his Son to the world, the Spirit changes from a harbinger of peace to a turbulent, driving force. The Spirit pushes Jesus out into a wilderness fraught with dangers of wild animals and desires of human flesh. Still dripping from the waters of baptism, Jesus must meet his fiercest adversary face to face. And yet, Jesus endures the forty-day fight and emerges victorious.
God’s people long for the gentle, tranquility of the dove-like Holy Spirit as we make our way through rugged wildernesses rife with trials and temptations. And yet, it is in the wilderness that Jesus comes to us. In our time of need, when all seems lost and we know that we cannot survive on our own; Christ finds us. Christ finds us, and on his mercy we rest. There, safe in the embrace of God’s grace, at last we find our promised peace.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, help us to welcome your guidance and mercifully lead us into the peace of Christ. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Paulette McHugh,
Associate Pastor at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Lexington, SC.