What is it about water?
The Book we read is literally swimming in it.
The waters of chaos,
out of which the Lord God creates.
Waters flooding the earth,
to wash it clean from the evil wrought by humankind.
Rebekah watering the camels of a traveling servant,
leading to the foundation of the people of Israel.
River water as the salvation for the baby-in-the-ark,
the one who grew up to become
the bearer of the rod,
the rod that brought water to its feet
in the parting of the Sea of Reeds,
and brought water from the rock
for a thirsty, complaining people.
The Promised Land,
a place fed by streams and
pools and springs abundant.
The Jordan River -
the headwaters into which the people of Israel
carry the Ark of the Covenant,
and stack the stones of remembrance.
The Jordan -
through which and by which the
Baptizer offers his call to repentance
and shouts out the promise of One Who Is to Come.
The Jordan -
into which steps Jesus, the Messiah,
submitting himself to the same waters of repentance
as every other respondent to John's call.
The Baptism of Our Lord -
one of the layered meanings and celebrations
marked with the name Epiphany:
The light dawns,
the promise is fulfilled,
God comes to the help of God's people.
Descending under the flow,
rising up through the surface,
glistening in the afternoon sun,
shaking the drops from hair and beard,
gasping for air, arms outstretched,
the Savior, our Immanuel, hears a voice
and the dove descends.
It is time.
No trumpets, no angels, no drum roll.
A simple walk from the shore to the river.
And the mission is launched.
What does Jesus hear as he steps out of the crowd,
out of obscurity,
out of preparation time
into the arena, ready for the main event?
What does he hear?
And what do we need to hear as well?
Three things - three things as vitally important
as the water itself to the life he - and we - are to lead:
He hears who he is.
He hears he is loved.
He hears he is pleasing.
Because of Jesus, we also have:
a new identity;
a powerful and life-changing relationship of love;
a deep-seated knowledge that
God is pleased with us,
before we do one single thing.
Do we get that??
God is pleased with us.
Because of Jesus.
And it is in the water,
the waters of our own baptism,
that we know these things to be true.
And absolutely vital.
The Living Water calls us to reflect who he is,
he calls us to be life,
to share live,
to live life
as if Jesus himself is the well.
Oh, how deeply can I draw from this Well as 2012 unfolds?
How widely can I spray this essence of life around me?
What time is it for me?
What time is it for you?
I am indebted to Pastor Don Johnson and the worship team at Montecito Covenant Church for most of the ideas contained in this reflection and most particularly for the beauty of a worship service in which we are given the precious opportunity to renew our baptismal vows. Swishing our hands in the waters of the font, singing, "All Who Are Thirsty," every New Year, we remember again WHO WE ARE. Thanks be to God.
Joining with lots of friends today as I've been away from this blog for over a week, traveling to get my mom moved and then re-settling at home with a too-full calendar. So tonight, I'm fixin' to join with Michelle, Jen, Emily (if she's open for business again), Ann, Jennifer & Bonnie. Each of these lovely sites has great writing going on - check them out.