And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

-Mark 1:11

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.

-Mark 1:12

He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

-Mark 1:13


July is a season for journeys. Nestled in the middle of the summer, it is a time ripe for going on adventure in the midst of the pleasant summer warmth. We pack our bags to go somewhere, anywhere, to take a break from our daily grind.

The book of Mark starts with a bang. Jesus meets John the Baptist, is baptized, and is affirmed by God as the beloved son. Then, in a dramatic fashion Spirit of God drives Jesus out into the wilderness. It a place where Jesus will be tested by Satan. I separated the verses above because I found them to be three series of dramatic events: blessing, driven out, tempted.

I think this is a helpful reminder about blessing. Just as God the Father had a deep love and connection with Jesus, so to we are the ones loved by God. And just as Jesus was affirmed and then immediately driven out, so to we are sent out. In other words, being loved by God does not guarantee a life of comfort and safety in a backyard hammock. We are the ones who boldly go into the wilderness. Yet, never forget that you are beloved. Even in the face of trial and temptation know that God is well pleased with you.

May you know joy and love in the midst of your July journeying. May you step in a lively manner (as those legs allow) into the place that God is calling. And in the scowling face of adversity may you know the warmth of God’s gaze directed in your direction.
Pastor Peter Curts