Today, we celebrate the baptism of Jesus. He came with the people streaming out to the desert to hear his cousin, John the Baptist preach and baptize for the forgiveness of sins. He, too, entered the water to be baptized, like the others. And as he comes up out of the River Jordan, he sees the sky torn and the Spirit descending like a dove.
We think of doves as gentle, the Spirit like a dove, but this is the same Spirit that just ripped open the sky and came through that opening. This is the same Spirit that drives Jesus out to the wilderness to pray for forty days and be tempted in preparation for his ministry. This is the same Spirit that comes to us in baptism and communion.
Seeing the lid on our baptismal font partially on and partially off makes me remember the sky being torn open. I also am reminded of Annie Dillard saying that perhaps we should wear seat belts and crash helmets in church when we pray and ask the Spirit to be present with us. This gentle Spirit has the power to send us out into the wilderness, set us up in a valley to see dry bones, and blow through our lives and cause tongues of fire to appear. Do we try to keep a lid on the Spirit like we keep the lid on the font?