Monday, March 29, 2010

Walking WET

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!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Floating on the waters of faith

I named this blog Water-Wings because I believe that we are held up by our baptisms. We can float on the knowledge that we are marked by the cross of Christ and sealed by the Holy Spirit FOREVER. That knowledge, brought to us in water, gives us wings. We can fly. We are free to become who we are created to be; able to go safely where life takes us. It doesn't protect us from being hurt. It doesn't promise perfect happiness. It doesn't even keep us from making bad choices or regrettable mistakes. It simply keeps us afloat through the bad times. It holds us up until we are ready to try again. . . like water-wings.

Becoming a parent is like being thrown into water over our heads - it's a sink or swim proposition from the very first moment. And like swimming, it can be terrifying, and it can only be learned through experience. It is an act of faith to bring a child into the world. At some point we have to simply trust that, with God's help, we can do it.

On the day I was baptized I was sealed by the Holy Spirit - and I think that holy breath has held me up like water-wings ever since. The only thing I knew without a doubt at the birth of my first child was that I needed to have her baptized. Everything else was a learning experience, but I knew, with certainty, that she needed her own pair of water-wings. And so, at the tender age of 13 days, she was brought to the font, baptized by her grandfather, and had her water-wings inflated by the same Holy Spirit who had held me afloat for 28 years. Two years later we repeated the process with her sister. We three have been floating together a long time now and I have stories to share and questions to pose. I learned from my experience, and the experiences of others.

I hope we can float together once a week or so and muse a little about life, baptism, faith and raising our kids. Come on in, the water's fine.