Back in to the hubbub of the city today. A quick jog-ette (run/walk 2:1 with a couple of cheeky wee 3:1’s thrown in) round the locale for Janathon day 12, and I know I am well and truly home. I do love it here, but it was great to be away.
I enjoyed walking along the river while I was away, so today I ran along the Water of Leith for a bit while I was pondering.
There’s nothing quite like being near water. I love it: the freedom of swimming in it, and the sound of it running over rocks or crashing onto a shore, how it finds routes around or over obstacles, making pathways of its own, and I love the sparkle as light catches it. Yet it demands respect, too: it can be fierce, and we can’t control it: look no further than the storms of the last few weeks to remember how seriously water is to be taken. To be plunged beneath water means death for us. Without it crops are parched and dry, and we cannot survive. But water also sustains and rejuvenates. It cleanses, refreshes, quenches. Somehow it averts our attempts to constrain it.
Today’s lectionary readings are about the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan river. Water is the symbol that’s used to mark the moment Jesus’ ministry is publicly announced. However we might understand it, the Gospel accounts are clear that in that moment something extraordinary takes place. God is at work in his child, pleased with him.
Baptism is a holy moment. In it I believe God is at work in us – that somehow the waters of baptism demonstrate something we can’t adequately express: the keeping of a promise of life and hope, given by God. ‘Grace’, we might say. It’s not something we do; it’s something God does. As clear, fresh water splashes over us, it cleanses us, enlivens us, and God is, somehow, at work. Gently, but lavishly, He welcomes us, marks us, promises us that He is there for us, to make us new and to draw us home. For keeps.
Today, as we mark the baptism of Jesus, beautiful baby Lucy was baptised too. Welcome to God’s family, little one. Drink deep.