In my imagination, Jesus sits on the banks of the Jordan. As dusk settles in, he ponders all he has stored in his heart. Here he encountered John, lean and dusty, filled with fire and proclamations. Jesus smiles as he thinks of his own baptism, so much set in motion, so much he could not predict. He remembers walks and talks, healings and riddles. He shakes his head as he thinks of his followers, with their flashes of brilliance and their desire to conquer.

His heart swells with love for all of them, even the schemers and the lost ones. He prays they find a way through the worst, to the best, yet to come. He prays they will share his words and stick together. Quietly, he begs, “Be with me, Abba.”

Can I find the courage to follow Jesus to Jerusalem?

—Maureen M. Martin is a writer, spiritual director and hospice chaplain, living in Evanston, IL.