Weekly Reflection, Friday, April 30
By: Denise Bennett
When I was a child one of my favorite places was a rock in the middle of the Tippecanoe River in rural Indiana. My grandparents had a cottage on the river and when the water was low enough, I waded out to “my rock.” I could still see the cottage, but somehow on that rock, I felt miles away. I watched the sun play on the ripples, and the water skeeters stride across the surface. Did you know that in some parts of the country, they are known as “Jesus bugs” – because they walk on water? And sometimes dragonflies would land nearby; the iridescence of their bodies and the delicate tracery of veins in their wings were beautiful. Below the surface, if I sat still long enough, I might see tiny crawdads or minnows. The river was full of life. “Water is life,” the Standing Rock Lakota people say. We begin life cradled in the water of our mother’s womb. We can go without food for quite a while, but without water, we quickly perish.
This Sunday we will baptize a precious child of God. The water of baptism is the outward sign of the inward grace that we receive in this sacrament. We are fully immersed – no matter how much water is used – into the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are sealed as Christ’s own forever and made part of the family of God, the Church.
In one of our last conversations, my grandmother told me about her baptism.
“The day I was baptized it was a beautiful sunny Sunday in May. We came out of the church but all the kids pushed ahead and ran down into the creek; squealing and splashing each other. Winter was finally over! The preacher came down and as he waded out into the water, he said, “all right now, everyone, gather round, we’re going to have a baptism.”
My grandma was so joyous as she told me this, and as I have come to understand the communal nature of this sacrament – the children playing together in the water of baptism strikes me as a beautiful metaphor for the joy of the entire community when we take part in what God is doing through us. Each time someone is baptized we remember our baptismal vows. We turn away from the powers of this world to the power of God who through the gift of the Holy Spirit helps us to nurture each other in faith and leads us to “The Welcome Table” where we are reminded that we are what we eat – Christ’s body for the world!