After forty days of desert walking
out of the clean baptism waters
of the Jordan, still he
remembered how it was:
to float, to be pushed into the cool deep blue,
to come out caressed
by the words:
Beloved. Blessed. Continue reading
By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
I’ve started an altar of stones beside my desk. With each death, birth, or marriage that passes, I write the name upon the rock and let the rock hold the memory and the prayer.
This fall, our family went to Block Island for the first time in many years. We used to stay in Dan Berrigan’s little cottage beside the ocean every summer. Stepping back on that ferry with my kids felt like introducing them to a piece of my heart- a piece nourished by beauty, where my mom’s hair blew fiercely in the wind, where my imagination learned to soar climbing on rocks and pulling clay from the cliff. Continue reading
After the service ended, the rocks began to pile up. Grandparents brought stones from beloved places far away and the kids waded into the water gathering rocks and adding them to the pile. We left that day, but the pile of rocks still sits beside the river as the waters pass through the Huron and toward Erie down the Detroit River.
We had just baptized Cedar Martin and his cousin Ira Cole. We read Joshua 4, where the Israelites cross the Jordan and Joshua tells them to leave a pile of rocks by the river because “One day your children will ask, “what do these stones mean?’ Continue reading
Yesterday, the First Sunday after Epiphany, was the Feast of Jesus’ Baptism. In the gospel reading, a particular preposition is used in refrain in Mark 1:9-12. Everyone else is baptized by John in the Jordan, but Jesus is baptized into the river (Gk, eis ton Iordanēn). Then that wild bird descends onto or into Jesus (eis auton). And right after this, Jesus journeys deep into the wilderness (eis tēn ‘eremon), on his “vision quest.”
Written by Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann, she reflects on the decision of whether to baptize her daughter, Lydia. Jeanie was a writer, activist, and mother. She died after a long fight with brain cancer in 2005. This piece was published in 1986 for Detroit’s Catholic Worker paper On the Edge.
I didn’t want to baptize Lydia.
My love for her took me off guard. I’d only been able to see her and touch her for a few hours and already I wanted the world for her. I studied her while she lay in my arms to eat and she stared back. I cried often. I was overwhelmed. Continue reading