About 71 percent of this tiny swirling gem in the middle of our vast universe is covered up with water. Two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen. Almost three-fourths of our home.
The average human body is made up of 57-60 percent water. It’s in the food we eat, the air we breathe, the tears we shed, the kisses we share. Unborn babies swim in it for nine months.
Water is life.
And so, when we say baptism is a symbol of God’s grace working in our lives – even before we realize it – we mean it. The grace in which we swim, breathe, eat, share – the grace that gives us life and sustains us. God’s grace is all around us – within us, even. And the water that washes over us at baptism is the tangible reminder of that grace.
And I don’t really know what it is about the water that makes it such a magical experience, but all I know is that when when I hear the water pouring into the basin, and when I watch it wash over the head of a child of God, the space between heaven and earth feels thin.
Which is why anyone – literally, anyone – can be baptized. We don’t get to choose who gets grace, life, water. In the United Methodist Church, we even baptize babies. Little miracles. Little crying pooping, eating miracles that keep Mom and Dad up all night – even (and sometimes especially) they need that grace. As my seminary professor would say in his thick Irish accent, “Drown the little buggers!” Sometimes we all need that drowning grace, don’t we?
I’ve been baptized twice. I was baptized as a baby, but when I was in youth group with my friends at another church, I was told my baptism didn’t count because I didn’t make the conscious decision for myself. So into the waters I went.
For the record: MY FIRST BAPTISM COUNTED.
God’s grace was already there. Working in me. In my parents. In my church family to raise me. God’s grace counts, no matter how it manifests. And who are we to say what God’s grace looks like? The water flows where it flows. I don’t get to choose that.
Drink some water today. Let the water course into your body, filling you with a renewed sense of the surprising Love that flows where it will flow. Be refreshed, replenished, reminded of the grace in which you swim.