21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove.

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

At the outset of his public ministry, Jesus had an intimate and powerful experience with God.

This even was something Jesus experienced as a physical (“bodily”) and audible (“a voice”) reality.

How often do I miss the work of God in my body? I become so distracted and preoccupied that I miss the “bodily” sensation of depth, richness, and beauty that signify in my life the presence of the divine. I fail to hear the “voice” that speaks to me of love. My ears are so full of the noise of my own needs, wants, desires, plans, and schemes, that I become deaf to the gentle sound of God’s Spirit.

It is while Jesus is “praying” that he senses the bodily presence of “the Holy Spirit” and hears the “voice… from heaven.”

In prayer I put aside those distractions and preoccupations that so often cause me to become insensitive to the subtle moving of that Spirit who descends in moments of quiet and stillness. I find in prayer that just as “the heaven was opened” for Jesus, so my heart is “opened” to the stirring of the divine.

When I awaken to that presence of the Spirit, I hear the voice that Jesus heard speaking to me of my true identity. God says, “You are my child, the beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

This is my true identity. It resides in nothing I have done or accomplished. It rests simply in God’s designation of who I truly am. Once I come to rest in the solid nature of my true identity, there is nothing left for which to strive. There are no more kingdoms to build, no great achievements to seek. I rest in that identity that exists outside of time and transcends any reaction to me or assessment of my life.

When I stop regularly in prayer and hear the voice of truth speaking to me of my true identity, I am free to live fully from that deep embodied place of strength and peace that guided Jesus throughout his life.

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