With so many baptisms happening this week and last week, andwith Earth Day just a few days ago, my mind has been on the most prominent symbol of this beautiful sacrament – water.
Water is amazing. It is required for almost every process necessary for life on a microscopic scale, filling the bodies, cells, and organelles of the tallest tree to the smallest bacterium. Water is also one of the few substances that is less dense when it is in its solid form (ice floats!), making life possible on a macroscopic scale.
However, water can also be dangerous, unpredictable, and deadly. It is a rich, complex substance, meaning it is also rich and complex as a symbol, in meaning.
One of my favourite things about water is that it is connected to all other water.
Water is old and well-travelled. We can delight in wonderingabout where the water we encounter comes from. Was it once drunk up by a dinosaur? Did it once hover as mist in a tropical jungle? Was it once frozen solid in an iceberg? Did it once spring up in the colourful petals of flowers in the desert?
The water that falls as rain here in Squamish, what is not absorbed temporarily by soil, moss or other forms of life, flows into lakes and streams, then rivers, and finally, ultimately to the sea, which connects us to the entire world.
There is a tradition in part of the Church that teaches that when Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan, all the waters of creationwere blessed too.
Water is connected to all other water, not just scientifically but spiritually.
So, when we bless the water for baptism on Sunday, setting it aside for this holy purpose, we remember…
This is the water of Creation. This is the water through which God lead the children of Israel from bondage into freedom. This is the water in which God-with-us grew in the womb of Mary. This is the water in which Jesus was baptized. This is the water that you have drunk, washed dishes in, watered your plants with, and canon-balled into. And this too is the water with which you were baptized.
We often have our font full of water near the entrance of the sanctuary, to remind us of our baptism. I invite you to trail your fingers through the water next time you have a chance, if you so desire, to connect yourself to this rich and evocative symbol, this water, which is connected to all other water. Remember. Reflect. Wonder. Delight. Bless. And as you bless the water, may you be blessed by it too.
Thanks be to God!