For the past few months my college friend and I have been working through a book called The Ignatian Adventure. The book leads you through the spiritual exercises developed nearly 500 years ago by St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order. The members of the order are called Jesuits and not Ignatians because Ignatius was all about Jesus and much like Luther did not want anyone to call themselves after him.
Anyway I have found both great comfort and challenge in these ancient contemplative exercises. Practices like the prayer of examen, journaling, the prayerful and even imaginative reading of scripture have increased my awareness of God’s presence throughout my day and hence decreased the anxiety I often suffer when I don’t know what comes next (which is most of the time these days. ☺) Check out this link for more info: https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen
One of our recent sets of readings for the week asked us to read and meditate on Jesus hidden years, those growing up years about which the scripture says so little. One day the passage for our consideration was this single verse, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.” Matthew 3:13 The meditation instructions were, “Spend time with Jesus as He prepares to leave home and makes His way to the Jordan River to begin His public ministry.”
The exercise was a sweet reminder of the humanity of Jesus and I experienced such a kinship with Jesus. I considered my own leaving home and my mother’s reminder, “Remember whose you are.” All of that led me to these musings recorded in the journal purchased for me in London by my brother and sister-in-law who will always be a part of who I am and where I am from…
I agree with Paul about the need to forget what lies behind and to strain toward what lies ahead (Check out Philippians 3) I could not fully do that until I had reckoned with where I come from, the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly of my spiritual and emotional geography. Where I come from, where you come from is important. So often in the gospels we read place names and then some statement about this was so x,y,z prophecy could be fulfilled. What if where you and I come from was and is equally part of God’s prophetic purpose? Maybe my life story reads something like this, “Kim moved from Phoenix to Charlotte. This was to fulfill God’s promise to give her a tribe, a community to heal and help.”
Where I come from (that dangling preposition is bothering the grammar policewoman in me) is the perfect preparation for the future only He can he see. He wants to reveal that future to me. Here’s what I know for sure, like Jesus I am called to that metaphorical Jordan, to humble myself, and to hear the Father’s voice of love reminding me of my belovedness. “This is my beloved, with her I am well pleased,” is a great way to be launched into new flights of faith and into ministry.
So each day I give thanks for where I am from and each day I am new baptized, launched into ministry by reminders of His great love. Each day I consider my own Jordans and cross-over into all the promises of God. Where I am from has prepared me for where I am called. I want my life to be lived as powerful prophetic proclamation of the goodness of God.