EMAIL DEVOTION week of LENT 3
Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. (John 3:5)
So if you are not sure what those little buggers are in the cover picture … well … they are earthworms. More properly, they “were” earthworms … a few months ago. At certain times of the year, worms crawl into the hallway outside my office from the exterior entrance to the office wing a few feet from my door. I never see them arrive at night, but typically find them the following morning. Somehow they find an entry point in the doorjamb. And virtually every time I find them, they have dried up into worm carcasses, as you see in the above picture. Earthworms are made up of about 90% water. A much higher concentration than the 60% water that makes up the human body. So I guess the dryness of “indoor life” take a quick toll on them.
During the weeks of Lent when I enter the sanctuary during my weekday travel around the building, I instinctively look to the baptismal font that is most typically at the head of the center aisle in the sanctuary, or occasionally down at the altar rail. For 46 of our 52 weeks it in inside our worship space, for those who wish to “remember their baptism” with a finger dip in the water and maybe a sign of the cross enacted upon one’s forehead or chest … either during the week, or on the way into the sanctuary, or as one approaches the altar rail for communion. But during the six week season of Lent we drape the baptismal font in the narthex as a reminder that by placing our Lenten focus primarily on the cross of Christ during this severe season, we better prepare ourselves for the joy of baptism and renewal of baptism that returns to us on Easter Viigil, our first Easter service.
Obviously, we do not dry up and wither away because of this symbolic “absence” of water in our lives. We are more complicated beings than earthworms … most days, at least. (Although, Martin Luther offered this quote in his reply to a Belgian theological opponent — “You sophistic worms, grasshoppers, locusts, frogs and lice!”) Sometimes I do feel “worm-like” in my tendency to be easily distracted from my baptismal identity. I suppose a small part of me has “dried up” inside, like a small creek in an arid countryside.
So this week, consider for a moment this great gift of “water and Spirit” that Jesus provides us, and consider those places in your life, where the assurance and blessing which flow from that water and Spirit dry up within you. Where are you at risk of spiritual dehydration? Where are the “dry carpets” in your travels? And more importantly, where do you find the life-giving waters of Jesus love and spirit flowing into your life? Hang in there … our liturgical reminder of these life-giving waters will be back among us in a few short weeks.