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Sandra Savage

Honorable Mention: 2017 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $100

About this Christian Poet:
Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Sandra Savage lives in Calgary, Alberta.  She has studied poetry with Micheline Maylor, Patrick Lane, Eli Mandel, and Margaret Gibson.  She has been published by Utmost Christian Writers, Freefall Magazine, and Verse Daily.  Sandra is an avid bird watcher and loves to travel.

About this Poem:
One day, listening to a Gospel reading of John baptizing Jesus, I envisioned it as a triptych:  outer panels of Jesus entering the Jordan and then emerging, an inside panel of Jesus leaving John, the dove watching.  The Jordan is always described as dirty and I couldn't see Jesus covered with the river's slime.  For there, and from the fundamental question of why a sinless Jesus would need to be baptized, I developed the poem..

The One Crying in The Wilderness Speaks of His Baptism of The Lamb of God

Sure I remember Him, it was the wildest thing:
He showed up to be baptized, but His coat was pure white.
I see sins as colours and most folk, well, they could be wearing
Joseph’s coat, they’re so covered in multi-coloured stains.

Not Him, not the Lamb of God.  
And that wasn’t even the strangest part.

He came to me in the wilderness by the river Jordan, 
where the reeds are shaken by wind, where I lived
on locusts and honey, and baptized with water:
the messenger to prepare others for His arrival.

I knew Him at once, as I had when I leapt for joy in Elizabeth’s womb.
He didn’t need me to baptize Him, but He insisted it be so,
to fulfill all righteousness, and I would not argue, 
not with Him.

He spoke not another word, having no sins to confess, 
no need to repent, and moved to the edge of the Jordan.  
He removed his coat, His pure white coat, unlike mine 
of rough camel hair or the soft coloured ones of the royal palace.

I stooped down and untied the thong of His sandal, 
though I knew myself unworthy of even this, 
and He walked into the river.
When He came out, 

He was stained with colours,
as if every sin clung to Him as thorns to a lamb’s coat.
The river Jordan looked clear for the first time ever,
but He looked like He had the sin of the world on Him.

As I stooped again to retie His sandals, He looked up
as if He heard voices, but there was no one.
The Heavens tore open, a radiant light erupted through the tear,
and a pure white dove appeared, as if descended from the light itself.

I looked back at Him, His tunic pure white again,
as if the sins had just been taken away.
.
He shone as He followed the dove into the wilderness.

Copyright ©2017 by Sandra Savage