Good Book Club: John 1:29-34
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
A reflection by James Cross, St. John the Baptist Church, Sanbornville, New Hampshire
John the Baptist announces the arrival of Christ, and with that announcement, he also promises a better future for all of us, because Jesus will take away the sins of our world. This is a wonderful promise. Year after year, century after century, in various places all over the world, similar promises are made in the spirit of John’s announcement.
About 140 years ago, a promise was made to the local population near Sanbornville, New Hampshire, with the construction of a new church named after John the Baptist. The new church promised a great and graceful new era, full of hope that the Lamb of God would look favorably on those who worshiped there. The promise was not limited to only those who worshiped there but to all in the area. Time and time again, the promise has been fulfilled, not so much in material things but in the sharing of the joys and successes of life.
St. John the Baptist church is not just a part of the religious world in New Hampshire, but is also an important part of the community. The less fortunate have been assisted, people have been fed, used goods have been sold, the sick and distressed have been comforted. John reported, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit is alive and well at St. John the Baptist Church, and we are all the better for it.