The Baptism of the Beloved

Jesus came down to the water, down
to where we were, his feet pierced
by the sharp stones of our hearts,
his heart pierced by our cries.

Jesus went down into the water,
immersed in this mystery we are immersed in,
down, into bottoms, into dreams,
John’s hand on his shoulder the whole time.

There he swam like a fish deep
through the springs of your life,
through the vaulted sky of water,
through the Flood, the blood-thick water.

Spring at the bottom of a well.
Underside of a boat in a storm.
A jug of wine-red water, turning. Water
so dense with God you could walk on it.

You could see him moving like a sound
down there, like a current,
like an angel or a shark, like the spirit
brooding over the waters.

He troubled the waters.
Walked through the waters.
Drowned in the waters,
until it flowed with his blood.

Buried at sea, he wrestled
with frenzied swine, with Leviathan,
and Jonah’s whale, and all manner
of monsters that haunt your murk.

Was swallowed by them all,
and in their darkest innards
they were powerless to avoid
digesting him body and soul.

Three days under.
The cry of a bird.
John breathed deep.

In a moment the water gave him up
and when he rose, fresh like a baby,
tears flowed down our cheeks
like the Jordan river.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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