Start From Whatever Hood Ya Come From

Finding Jesus

because they had been baptized

 

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee. – Mark 1:9 (Mark 1:9-13)

Skipper’s Sun grew up in a region always on edge. Centuries of conflict between one sect and ah nudder, between different beliefs, diverse backgrounds and races and loyalties left folks distrustful of one ah nudder. Bandits roamed about. Zealots terrorized folks. Rome ruled, but due ter its distance from seats of power, much of Galilee remained under the control of whatever local militia might ‘ave the most power. Bribes be expected, beatings the punishment fer them who refused. This be the neighborhood the Sun come from.

So when Nathanael asked, “Can any good thing come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46) it be a right fair question. It be like asking if anything good kin come from the slums of Bristol.

But at age thirty, the son of a carpenter sets out from Nazareth with no influence, no followers, no formal rabbinic teaching, and no expectations from others that he ‘ill amount ter anything.

Only a few know him ter be Skipper’s Sun and most dare not speak of it.

Down ter the Jordan River he walks. Thar the Sun finds his cousin, John, calling folks ter repent, confess thar sins, and be baptized. Now the Sun doth not ‘ave ah thing ter repent of. He ne’re committed a sin. Other folks don’ know this, though, so ter set things right from the start, the Sun wades in ter the Jordan ter show that being washed clean of our filthy living be the first step towards turning ter Skipper.

Ah good many folks ‘ill make all manner and excuses fer why they don’ need ter be baptized. Folks bathe. Folks shower. Folks frolic in ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, and sea. But they won’ take a dip fer Skip? Don’ make sense.

Some claim they had water sprinkled on thar head when they was a tiny tot, or they was baptized once, but kin not remember when, or being baptized be an out-dated way of showing ya be a follower of the Sun.

Only think on this: if the Sun, Skipper’s only boy, thought it worth his time ter take a dip, could it not be a thing ya ought ter do as well?

The Sun seen the heavens opening. Now that be an odd thing ter see in it self, but then Skipper’s Holy Ghost of Truth descended upon Him in the way a dove might come ter alight on a branch.

A voice came from the heavens: “You are My beloved Son. In You I m well pleased.”

Kin Skipper say the same ’bout ya? ‘Ave ya done the first things first? Or did ya head off on yer walk with the Sun without taking the steps he took at the start?

We be called ter follow the Sun, not get ahead of him. Walk in the ways he walks. Start at the start. Start from whatever hood ya come from.

If a feller or lass says ter ya, “Ya ‘ill ne’er amount ter anything,” don’ ya believe it fer a second.

Be baptized in ter the Sun and ya ‘ill become Skipper’s child. If ya ne’re do anything else, that right thar be a right fair accomplishment. Take a dip and sail on, brothers and sisters. Take a dip and sail on.

Where ever ya be sailing, that be whar ya ‘ill most like end up. Plot yer course with Skipper and his Sun.

Pirate fact: “Keelhauling” be a form of punishment whar by a length of rope would be tied ’round and under the ship’s hull. the grievous breaker of ship’s rules then be tied ter the rope and plunged under the ship. Back and forth, up and down the feller would go ’till he be drowned dead or cut ter shreds by barnacles. Even pirates knowed thar be punishment fer breaking the captain’s code of conduct. Lubbers might think on this a wee bit when they be tempted ter break Skippers Code of Conduct.

Begin with the Good News That Skipper Loves All Folks

Mark 1:5 (Mark 1:1-8)

Begin with the Good News That Skipper Loves FolksAll the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem.
Mark 1:5 (Mark 1:1-8)

John Mark appears ter have spent a good amount of time listening ter the preaching of Simon Peter and making notes. Fer a time John Mark ministered with Saul Paul and Barnabas, but then the lad got a bad case of homesickness and jumped ship.

Though at first Saul Paul refused ter take John Mark back, at the end of his life Saul Paul pleads fer John Mark ter come quickly and bring Saul Paul’s cloak, parchments (perhaps so Saul Paul could pen more letters), and scrolls (so as ter read more of Skipper’s words.) It might be said of John Mark that he learned under a pair of Skip’s greatest Good Spiel messengers: Old Pete and Saul Paul.

When we read John Mark’s words it be as if through the Holy Spirit of Truth we be transported back ter the first century and enjoy a front row seat of the Sun’s travels, actions, and words.

After reading short passages of John Mark’s tale, close yer eyes. Feel the dust on the tops of yer feet, the caked mud ‘tween yer toes. Taste the salt of sweat in yer mouth whilst the sun bakes down on ya. Hear the murmuring of others whilst the Sun’s words echo off buildings. Inhale the odor of sheep and cattle being led ter stalls near the perimeter of Jerusalem. If this whar yer first time hearing, how would ya respond ter the Sun’s words?

This be our challenge: ter hear afresh these loving and hope-filled words of Skipper spoken about his boy.

Now let us haul up our anchor and set sail toward the rising Sun.

 

The beginning of the gospel of the Sun starts with: “Behold, I send my messenger ahead of you—before your face—who will prepare the way.”

John the Baptizer, the cousin of Skipper’s boy, appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. the whole Judean countryside and all folks in Jerusalem went out ter him. Confessing their sins, they whar baptized by John in the Jordan River.

John went about wearing an outer garment made of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist. His meals consisted of locusts and wild honey. Though odd in appearance and diet, his message was spot on:

“After me comes the one more powerful than me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

This be our challenge from John: that we be washed clean in water as ah testimony of our filthy spirit, that we repent, and prepare to meet the one Skipper will send ter take away all sins.

John preached of how all the wrong we done kin be cleared off Skipper’s ledger when we come inter the Sun. No matter how bad ah thing ya think ya done, the Sun kin wash away all filth if only we ‘ill come ter him, confess, and be saved by his nail-scarred hand.

If we want to begin at the beginning of the Sun’s story, start with this good news: Skipper loves folks so much he sent his Sun ter dive inter the sea ter save us.

Once we accept that Skipper and the Sun be love through and through then it be ah mite easier ter turn toward the pair and ask ter be part of the crew. This be the theme of this tale of John Mark: that we receive the love and grace and mercy of Skipper and his Sun and sail with ‘em.

Pirate FactsPirate Facts: Although technically not ah rank, Swab be ah sailor who mops the decks using the swab is called ah “swabbie.” The term has come to describe someone who is not held in high regard by the commanders and crew.

 

Parroting the Prayers of Skip’s CrewParroting the Prayers of Skip’s Crew

Lord, favor me because of your loving-kindness. Take away my wrong-doing because of the greatness of your love. Wash me inside and out. Make me clean from my sin. Though others may not know my heart, you do. My sin is always in front of me. I have sinned against you, and you only. I have done what is sinful in your eyes. You are always right when you speak, and fair when you judge. Forgive me. I put my life in your hands. (Psalm 51:1-4)

 

Do Not Leave Jerusalem

Finding Jesus In Jerusalem

Do Not Leave Jerusalem

After givin’ instructions through tha Holy Ghost of Truth ter tha apostles, tha Sun began ter teach and show himself ’till tha day he be taken in ter heaven. It happened like this.

He showed himself ter tha Eleven and other disciples. He give many convincing proofs that he whar alive even though he whar executed on tha cross and placed in a tomb. He appeared ter folks over a period of 40 days. He spoke ’bout tha kingdom of Skipper.

On one occasion, while he be eating with tha fellers, he gave ’em this command:

“DO NOT leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:1-5, 8)

After tha Sun appeared ter tha Ten, then Thomas (who had all manner of doubts ’bout tha Sun being alive), tha Eleven trekked up ter Galilee ter do a bit of fishing. After casting thar nets all night but gathering in little, tha Sun waved ter ’em from shore and said:

“Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

“Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” (John 21:5-6)

No doubt tha fellers be grumbling ’bout this lubber seated on tha beach be telling them how ter catch fish. Only, since he had a fire going and some fish grilling they obliged. Soon as they did they hauled in 153 fish. Now ya might be thinking this a fishy story and it be, but not in tha way we might imagine.

Some time earlier tha Sun had promised tha fellers they would be fishers of men. He had told ’em ter stay in Jerusalem and wait fer Skipper’s special gift. Only it seems waiting in Jerusalem got ter much fer ’em so they went back ter doing what they done be fer they met tha Sun. And like most times when we return ter our old ways, they got nothing fer thar efforts. No fish, no fun, no joy.

Right then tha Sun called ter ’em: “Come and have breakfast.”

None of tha fellers dared ask, “Who are you?” They knew it be tha Sun.

Back on tha beach, jest like he did with the 5,000 and tha 4,000,  tha Sun took some bread and gave it ter ’em, and did tha same with tha fish. Fish fer folks . . . bread of life . . .  This whar the third time tha Sun appeared ter his mates after he be raised from the dead, only this time they got tha message clear: Old ways be done fer. New ways, new work be thar calling.

We kin imagine that soon as tha fish fry be done fer, tha Eleven hoofed it back ter Jerusalem, fer some days later tha Sun met with ’em again and led tha Eleven out of Jerusalem ter the vicinity of Bethany. Thar whar tha Sun’s home away from home and tha house of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. While he be near tha Garden whar he prayed tha night ‘fore he be arrested, tha Sun told ’em plain:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. I am always with you and will be to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

After saying this he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he be blessing them, he floated up in ter clouds and went on ter heaven ter rejoin Skipper. (Luke 24:50-51)

This be tha second ascension of tha Sun only this time tha Eleven done as told. Soon as they lost sight of him, the trekked back ter Jerusalem and waited fer thar special gift ter arrive.

Do ya ‘ave this gift, this Holy Ghost of Truth from tha Sun’s pop? Do ya wait on Skip? Do ya obey all tha Sun teached and preached?

If not, make it yer task ter obey all tha Sun tells ya. Not some, not most, but ever last word. Tha Sun done gone ter be with his pop, but he be coming back fer them who be in him. Watch and wait and fish fer folks: that be our charge ’till tha day we go ter Davy Jones.