Like a Watered Garden
Holy God, mighty Lord, gracious Father: We give you thanks, for in the beginning your Spirit moved over the waters and you created heaven and earth. By the gift of water you nourish and sustain us and all living things… Through the baptism of your dear Child, our Lord Jesus Christ, you consecrated and set apart the Jordan and all waters as a blessed flood and a full washing away of sins.
-from Martin Luther’s “Flood Prayer”
To the beloved of God at St. Peter,
I feel like I have been traveling for ages. From Luther Seminary in Minnesota to an Intern/Supervisor retreat in North Bend to Synod Assembly in Pasco and back again. It is good to be back with you here in Spokane. April was a busy month for me and it was a busy month in the life of St. Peter as well. We began the month with the culmination of our Lenten journey in fellowship and worship together, in prayer and song, during Holy Week and celebrated the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday and throughout these past weeks of the Easter season. We celebrated this new resurrection life with the baptisms of Margaret, David, James and Erza Rail as we poured out the waters of God’s love and promise upon their heads.
Maybe it was the flowing of these baptismal waters that caused the theme of this year’s Synod Assembly to strike me with such conviction. The theme was “Like a Watered Garden.” We heard lectures, sermons and prayers that gave thanks for all the waters of the world. When we baptize, we use ordinary water. That ordinary water is put to holy use. Precisely because it is ordinary water that fills our font, we can understand all the world’s ordinary waters as holy. In his “flood prayer,” Martin Luther proclaims that God has set apart all waters as a blessed flood of mercy.
Baptism doesn’t set us apart to fly through the heavens with the angels, but joins us to this earth, to the waters and the dirt, all of creation and the creatures within it. Not to be gods but to be more fully human creatures. Beloved creatures of our creator God. I wonder how that kind of understanding, that kind of solidarity with creation, might influence the way we engage and interact with the world around us. Will we join together with the flowers of the fields praising God? Sing songs of God’s glory with the meadowlark? Work for the purification and preservation of our water and sky and earth? I pray that we will take time to give thanks for the beauty of the earth as life unfolds this spring. And when you touch that ordinary stuff of water – in the rain that falls, in the sprinklers that water our lawns, in the showers that cleanse our bodies, remember your baptism which joins you to Christ and in Christ to all creation.
Grace and peace to you,