Mark 1:11

and from the heavens came a voice – “You are my dearly loved son; you bring me great joy.”


self-contained heavens
create deafening echoes
whereupon splitting open
out rush inchoate hope
while an in-rushing gasp
shoves in the gap
a birthing groan sighs

awareness dawns
as newly washed ears

attend to the unheard
and there was music
connecting old horizons
to one widely precious
simple next breath

echoes like crashing surf
block all accumulated identities
until a song of myself
out waits a heaven bound
breaking heart
be love beloved
begin a new echo

voice to voice
calls deep to deep
heaven to hearth
opened to open
calls each to each
love times love
claims steady joy


A voice. Resonant baritone? Young girl whispering? Siri? Carried on the wind?

In Matthew we have “Beloved” as a title. Here it shows Mark’s understanding of Christ-Messiah that will blow apart every closed system to reveal a pleasure principle that has staying power. The older phrase of “steadfast love” would do well here.

Recognizing that Jesus does not live up to the usual measure of a Messiah—just look around at the lack of change in a world before and after Jesus—moves us into a re-creation of Messiah.

This important line, too easily glossed over as a statement of faith rather than the explosive reorientation it is, needs more looking at. To catch a glimpse of this listen to C.S. Mann on Mark in the Anchor Bible series.

The complexity of the declaration in this verse … can hardly be exaggerated, since it combines motifs from the soteriological ideas of Genesis 22, a messianic designation in Psalm 2, and the Servant of Isaiah 42. The combination of motifs is startling, yet all the elements are at home in Palestinian Judaism.

However you entered into overhearing this voice, it is a blessing. Look around for who else has heard and is working on allowing it to flow through and from them. Look, also, for those who haven’t heard. Bringing these two together is Messiah work.

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