Big Splash: 2/28-3/1/2015
This weekend, in the midst of another (final?) winter storm, 118 people stepped forward for baptism. If you were here, you heard Charlie remind us that baptism is a way of replaying the dramatic act of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. It is a profoundly sacred and spiritual act. But we also think it's beautiful that baptism is a profoundly physical act.
We tend to separate these two things all the time. Like everything in life has to be just one thing or the other thing. But there are moments when the spiritual and the physical realm collide.
There are a lot of mechanics to baptism. People walk forward with whatever bodies they have, young or old, spry or weary. There are lots of oppotunities for stumbling or splashing. Most people hold their noses out of necessity, like little kids plunging into a pool.
It's physically humbling to get drenched in water, particularly in front of crowds of people. Everybody adjusts their hair and their clothes when they gather themselves afterwards.
People sometimes have visceral reactions: they are surprised by tears or they look for a hug. Their faces often look different in their Before and After shots.
The baptizers have to pay attention to the mechanics too. They make sure there's enough room to lower people into the water. They support them on the way down and on the rise back up.
There are teams of people making sure everybody has towels and dry clothes. There are friends and family embracing each other on the other side of the water.
It's a whole body experience.
And it's just the beginning of a whole body experience.
The life of faith is spiritual for sure. But it's physical too. There are mechanics to following Jesus with our lives. It ought to shape the way we walk, move, eat, love, speak, listen, sing, dance, play, drive, work, fall. Through baptism, God covers our whole selves with grace and love. God ordains our whole bodies for goodness. So how are you going to move around the world this week? If you've been washed and covered, however long ago it might have been, all of you is all of God's.
If you missed this weekend and want to step forward for the grace of baptism in the coming weeks, the invitation is always open. For information and scheduling, email Rita Brown.