Many years ago, when I was very young, I was a chaperone to a group of even younger people at a National Lutheran Youth Gathering in New Orleans. The theme of that year's Gathering was "Walking Wet" and that phrase has infused my theology ever since. Living life as a baptized person means a lot of different things. . .
- I am never alone. The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, is with me where ever I go, no matter what the circumstance.
- I am part of a huge family. My family now stretches across the entire planet and even across time. I have been adopted into God's family and nothing can separate me from that family.
- I am forgiven. I have been washed in those life-giving waters and though I will never be perfect, I will always be forgiven.
Celebrating the ever-present spirit, the vast family to which I belong and my forgiven state lead naturally to other concepts. . .
- I matter! I matter to the creator of the universe. I matter enough to be died for. I matter enough to be stayed with through every circumstance. Whatever the people around me think of me, I still matter. I may be insignificant in the eyes of the world, but I matter to God.
- And I don't matter because of what I do or don't do!!! The fate of the universe is not on my shoulders. My own salvation is not on my shoulders. There is nothing I can do to control the situation. God has used the waters of baptism to drown me and raise me and love me beyond any undoing!
Internalizing these ideas has left me free to float in waters of unconditional love. These ideas are pretty counter-cultural. Unconditional love is comforting and empowering in a culture that alternately tells me:
- that I am not important unless I (fill in the blank) and
- that every single thing I do is going to impact my attempts to succeed at school/job/child-rearing/beauty/health/wealth-building.
So join me in floating in the waters of unconditional love. Let's love our kids the way God loves us. Let's try loving our kids the way they love us. (God provided some pretty good role models.) After all, they don't love us for packing their lunches, washing their clothes or keeping their vaccinations current! They love us because we are Mom or Dad, or Sissy or Bubba, or Grandma or Grandpa, or friend or neighbor.
C'mon. Jump in. The water's fine!