I want to again thank Dr. Terry Nelson-Johnson for sharing his creativity and energy with us this past weekend as we delved more deeply into the sacredness associated with Baptism. We are encouraging each of you to delve more deeply into the sacredness of being baptized into life itself, to be Pro-Life with us as we continue to suggest just how prevalent grace is throughout and repeatedly in the precious gift of life that God has ALREADY given us.
Because we have life, grace can erupt at any time. Because Baptism is a word that is precious, but it is also one that cannot completely articulate how powerful water is in our spiritual journey, I want to borrow from many sources to emphasize the availability of the sacred in all of our lives.
I quoted Steven P. Miles PhD from his Sunday Scripture Reflection from Catholic Theological Union in my homily this past Sunday on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Miles said of our Jewish brothers and sisters belief that, “When we immerse ourselves in water, we immerse ourselves in God.“ They don’t have the same belief that we do in the Sacrament of Baptism, but in their belief they help us to equate water with God. God created water. I say it all the time—all life comes from God and water is perhaps the most prevalent purveyor of that life. Wherever there is water, there is life!
Because I feel so passionate about this, and because we can be institutionally limited in our church terminology for the sacred, we are introducing new and hopefully more expanded terminology for the sacred during our pilgrimage of Grace. Therefore, I believe that in Baptism, we are not only blessed with water but we are Drenched in the life-giving energy of God’s love, grace, mercy and wonder.
I believe that we don’t bless water but water blesses us, and that is why we acknowledge it as sacred so often in our iturgies. God is the initial supplier of water, and thus life itself.
This all reminds me of a special moment that I shared with my friend and college teammate Steve Criss. Steve went to nearby Wheeling High school and was part of the group of 6 of us from the Chicago area who played basketball at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Steve is 6’11.” He is really tall. He has had a very successful real estate career in Omaha and he and his wife Sue have four grown children.
As Steve did better and better in his career, he and Sue had a house built in the western part of Omaha. I was visiting when the house was nearly but not fully completed. He wanted to show me the house and when I arrived he enthusiastically led me to the shower in the master bedroom.
He pointed to the shower head that was approximately eight and a half feet high and he proclaimed, “Look at this. The water is actually going to fall on me. Isn’t this great?!”
As a man 6’11” tall he had spent his entire life ducking under shower heads in order to rinse off in the shower. It is probably something that most of us of normal height take for granted. He kept pointing to the shower head saying, “Isn’t this great? It will actually fall on me!”
Through this story, I hope that you can be amazed by the life-giving grace that falls on us in ways that we have never experienced before. Let’s stop trying to duck under the flow of grace. Let’s let it fall on us in ways that we have never experienced before. Let’s let water help us to experience grace. Let’s let the water of the sacredness of life fall on us and allow us to be amazed.
Wedding Feast at Cana
This weekend we turn our focus from water to wine. Interestingly, that is the pattern of the story of the Wedding Feast at Cana. The mother of Jesus (she is never referred to as Mary in the story, thus highlighting her role and significance) speaks for all humanity when she says we have no more wine. At a certain time people ran out of spiritual energy symbolized by wine. Jesus is called into the hour of his public ministry by his mother and this inspires servers to do what he tells them.
Six stone water jars each holding 20 to 30 gallons suddenly become vehicles for an abundance of grace and spiritual energy. Talk about being Drenched! Talk about Abundance! Jesus Christ has come into our lives, in fact all human life to be the really good wine that we can drink from and never run out of.
Let’s let that fall on us and be amazed by it and share it with others.