Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
When we are baptized, water is poured over us. Our godparents and the congregation speak promises on our behalf about how we will live a life of faith, supported by their faith and prayers. We revisit those promises in church regularly throughout the year and when a new person is brought into the community through baptism. But what about the rest of the days? In our everyday lives at work, at school, in our volunteer activities, wherever we go, we are a called to Walk IN the water of our baptism. This photo reminds us that as soon as we are able to stand on our own, to walk IN the water that was poured out on us in that sacramental moment, we, as God's baptized people are called to walk IN the water, to proclaim Good News of new life and hope and to live out the promises we made (or made on our behalf) in our particular place in the Body of Christ. We are called not to walk on waer as only Jesus was able to do, but to take seriously how we walk IN the water of our lives.
What does it mean to promise to participate regularly in the Eucharist, to resist evil, to repent, to proclaim Good News, to serve others, to strive for peace and justice, to respect and care for God's creation? We may have different answers to these questions at different times in our lives. This playful image of being IN the water invites each of us to ask whether we are willing to take off our shoes and wade into the waters of our baptismal identity. How deep will we go in prayer, service, community-building and learning?
This summer we launched an intentional "Season of the Spirit" in our Sunday liturgy as we prepare for a sabbatical season for Trinity. I will be away from September til January. You all have the opportunity to pray and discern how to " be on sabbatical" too. We will share this time to ponder and pray about what it means to be a baptized person who walks everyday in the water of baptism, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Water is life-giving, our bodies are primarily made up of water! Water represents movement, clarity, and beauty. Many of us find peace when we simply sit by bodies of water; whether the sea, a lake, or a stream. Water can also be dangerous, cold, murky or stormy. What does it look like to walk IN the water in places and times of struggle in our lives?
One of my Spiritual Companions for sabbatical is St. Cuthbert (died 687 AD), who prayed kneeling in the dark, cold waters of the North Sea. I will visit his Holy Island off the coast of northeast England, and am hoping to work up enough courage to get. in up to my neck, as he did! My sister will be with me, so knowing there is companionship and someone whose hand I can grab if the water is rough gives me hope that I will be able to try this.
How might you wade more deeply into waters of baptism? What one practice could you adopt for this upcoming season that would make it be a sabbatical for you? Who wades in with you on your journey of faith, offering a hand as you need one? Who do you offer a hand when you see them struggling in rough water?
We are IN the water, my friends! With Spirit and Love always. Thanks be to God!