Water throughout the Bible –
In the beginning – our translation today says a wind from God sweeps over the face of the waters. But this could also be translated as the spirit of God hovered, the breath of God danced, the soul of God fluttered.
Much like a dove’s flight.
A dove’s flight tells Noah when the waters are receding.
The Spirit, like a descending dove, alight upon Jesus at his baptism in waters bringing God’s personal words of love.
Water in the Bible is the source of life. Out of water, God brings forth peoples and animals, plants and insects, birds and fish. Out of water, to this day, we are born from our mothers. Water is life.
Water is cleansing! Water is used as a holy bath before approaching the temple of God. Water is used to cleanse hands before prayer, and feet upon entering houses, and, of course, our baptisms.
Yet, water is also death. The Red Sea parts for escaping Moses, but it comes back together to kill the Egyptians. Noah and his family survive the flood, but that flood kills all other humans and animals and life.
Hand in hand, life and death, water is given to us.
Baptisms are the same water. The water God first made, and the water that Jesus walked upon… but also the water that makes up blood, spilled on battle field after battle field, city after city, and upon the cross.
Water changes, is renewed, but remains the very same water, same molecules, through all time. Through rain and snow, through rivers and underground creeks, through oceans and through the organs of animals and leaves of plants. I’m sure you’ve heard the joke that we’re drinking dinosaur pee. We are. But we’re also drinking the water that Abraham gave to visiting strangers – angels! – and the water God gave to Hagar and the water that anointed Jesus.
Water is death and life. Water is full of billions of previous creature’s lives and it enables the current life of billions of creatures.
The spirit of God dances throughout it.
When we are baptized, we are baptized not just in the name of God, Christ, and Spirit… but we are baptized into the DEATH of Jesus.
Symbolically, we drown. We go down. We die. We return to water, or rather, return the waters God gifted us.
Symbolically, we cease.
Spiritually, the old us DOES die.
And in the baptism, with coming up, with drying off the water, we are baptized into the LIFE of Jesus. A new life. Reborn. Reborn of not just water, but also the Spirit of God.
Symbolically, we have over come death.
Symbolically, we have emerged back into the world anew.
Spiritually, we are a new creation.
In baptism, we die and conquered death. We follow Christ to the grave and beyond. We see and affirm that nothing can separate us from the Love of God. We see and affirm the Spirit that dances all through creation also dances within us. We see and affirm the way of Christ is one of life and death, joys and sorrows, mixed blessings, muddy waters that are hard to discern and crystal clear waters that refresh us again and again. We see and affirm we are followers of Christ.
We see and affirm we are the children of God, loved, beloved, and with whom God is well pleased.
Rejoice in your baptisms! Remembered or not. Rejoice in other’s baptisms! Seen, or not. Rejoice in the baptisms that have happened, are happening, and will happen – for the Spirit unites us all as one in holy rites such as these.