From a Distance

You’re Looking Just Fine From This Distance

Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan, likes to tell me that I’m looking great from what he can see. The truth is he cannot see me at all from Saskatchewan. He tells me that it is good to put a positive construction on the people you can’t see.

Ed believes you should never ask people how they are as they may tell you enough to make you wish that you hadn’t asked them. He says if you meet a person face to face, always tell them that they look remarkably well. Because they are not used to hearing it and will think about it for at least two days asking themselves – what did he mean by that?”

I agree with Ed that it may be hard to detect any problem from a distance. Julie Gold wrote in her poem, From a Distance, that things seem okay from a distance, but it is an illusion. She says, “From a distance, we all have enough, and no one is in need. From a distance, there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease, no hungry mouths to feed.” Gold also repeats in a refrain in her poem that God is watching us from a distance. We watch each other, and God watches us. The closer we are in contact with others, the more we may have questions about them. Folks had lots of questions about John the Baptist.

In the Bible, people wondered if John the Baptist might be the Christ or the Messiah that they were waiting for expectantly. John had great success as a prophet preaching in all the country around the Jordan. Crowds swarmed to John as he preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

John had the appearance of a prophet or a madman as he wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. John called the people to “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near. He used the words of Isaiah saying, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight paths for him. (Matthew 3:2-4)

John made it clear that he was only preparing the way for one more powerful to come. His purpose was to call people to repentance. In that, people were to consider their lives and confess their sins and be baptized in the Jordan. It was a sign or act of a determination on their part to live in repentance or a God-pleasing way.

Jesus appeared like any other man, but as both man and the Son of God, he was sinless, but he came to be baptized by John. John tried to deter him, but Jesus said to John, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:15)

God is always watching us. When Jesus was baptized and came out of the water, heaven opened, and Jesus saw the Spirit of God descend like a dove lighting on him. A voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him, I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17). God is watching us with love inviting us to open our lives to him.

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