Pastor’s Email Devotion
The Week of Easter 5 — May 3, 2015
I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’.” (Mark 1:8, NRSV)
I bought it twenty-five years ago … then sold it or gave it away or threw it away ten years after that … and now I am buying it again. I’m smarter this time. I’m buying it used at yard sales or the local WeeUsables sale or at consignment shops. But some of the same toys and clothes and books and home items that I had for my kids are returning to roost at our home again for our time with our grandson. We kept some things, of course … toys and books mostly … our Fisher Price garage, and our Playmobile and Kinex sets. But we didn’t keep everything. Yesterday’s find at our neighborhood yard sale? – a Kett Car for Sam. Justin loved the one we bought 25 years ago – we still have it. Sam will ride it when he is here. But we thought he should have one at his house. It cost us a whole lot less this time around.
As the stuff comes around a second time, the memories come round again, too. The first bathing suit … the first bicycle … the first cries of “Weeeee” on the first slide … the first book with words … the first wooden trains … the first conversations with inanimate objects that come alive in a child’s head. Yes, the “good stuff” of memories comes along with the good stuff we collect again. And as the memories come back around, so do the relationships. And we find ourselves falling again into old patterns that were effective once before in cultivating love and trust, and which seem to be doing the same again. Yes, the recycling of life touches far more than the Brio train we pick up for two bucks at a neighbor’s house.
Some world religions see human existence as cyclical, in which you live your life, or some ever-evolving permutation of it, over and over again. The Christian faith, by comparison, sees life as linear – a history into which God occasionally enters at critical moments of time for the purpose of shaping life as we know it. Think of the creation of our universe or the birth of Jesus into our world. So while I struggle to comprehend a straight line of history that never begins or ends due to God’s eternal nature, I prefer that intellectual struggle to one of being in a hamster wheel, rehashing the same life over and over again.
The good news for us is that within that linear history, God does offer us moments of “spiritual recycling” … opportunities for the regeneration of life that come around regularly and often. Holy Baptism is one of those opportunities gifted to us. We awaken each morning, as if we are arising from our drowning pool of sleep, refreshed and renewed and blessed with another opportunity to strive for faithful living in a broken world … knowing that this same drowning pool awaits us when we lie down to bed again, having failed to ward off the sin in our lives. When we have the privilege of observing the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, as we did this morning for three new believers, we are confronted again with that call to renewal and regeneration, and the daily rhythm (a cycle of life, if you will) of God’s graceful invitation in our lives.
So I invite you into prayer this week for the appreciation of and engagement with the baptismal life of a disciple. And the eyes to see those moments of symbolic baptismal regeneration that point to the blessing and miracle of your own baptism. Stay wet, my friends.
God of Life, through water and the Word, you have washed away my sin and given me a
promise I can trust. Thank you for adopting me as your own. Help me to live a life of trust and repentance, as you drown the sinner in me each day, and give me a new life by the work of your Spirit within me, in the name of Jesus I pray this. Amen.