Our Kindred Spirit with Water
(Posted January 9, 2019)
You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” — Jon Kabat Zinn
Water. It isn’t merely one of our greatest needs: It is an absoute necessity for life. We can live without food for three weeks, but without water, we’re done in a few days. Our bodies themselves are made of about 65 percent water. And water is one of our first sensations when we leave the womb. We must realize that, at the moment we emerge into this life, we emerge from water, and most often as we leave life, old and sick, it is what returns to take us in the end.
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Standing at the edge of the sea, we find an amazing sense of peace, a kindred spirit with water. For every culture, for poets and artists, water is the theme of the ebb and flow of our lives. It’s not at all surprising that, just as we enter life through water, we also enter our commitment to follow Jesus as Christians by the simple, and yet profound, act of Baptism. For most of us, baptized as infants or toddlers a long, LONG time ago, our baptisms aren’t even memories, but stories told to us by family. We enjoy watching others be baptized, but we can feel pretty disconnected from our own.
This Sunday marks the Baptism of Christ, and there is a special message conveyed in Luke’s gospel that will echo again before Lent begins. It’s easy to miss, but as the late theologian Marcus Borg reveals to us, baptism is a metaphor for the conscious desire to die to our pasts and rise up out of the water in Christ, also dying and rising up in Christ’s resurrection. The interesting thing that Borg points out is, at the moment of Jesus’ baptism, we have the chance to hear the Voice of God speaking for us to hear directly.
And in the last Sunday before lent begins, as the disciples stand atop a mountain watching Jesus be transfigured in glory alongside Moses and Elijah, the Voice will speak to us again. It will say, “This is my Son. Listen to him.”
But how do we, in our noisy and distracted world, get a chance to hear anything, much less the Voice of God? We don’t even pause long enough in church to do that! So I’m planning to make it possible for us to take time each of these weeks of Epiphany Sundays before the beginning of Lent to learn how to pray. To have an Epiphany. We’ll start this Sunday, with a celebration of the baptism we can’t remember, and by learning how to be present for God to speak to us, through meditation. Next week we will start to examine the beauty of the Lord’s Prayer, and how it applies to our lives today. See you this Sunday…. Pastor Pat Kriss