Friday, August 19, 2016

Remembering my Baptism at a Water Park

My sister and 10 year old nephew are visiting us this week, which means we are having a stay-cation.  My nephew wanted to go to a water park in the Bahamas, but decided he could be happy with the huge one in the neighboring county.  It was nothing like the waterslides of my youth, which usually consisted of a few concrete slides and mats for all.

Yesterday we went to a water park that had over 20 slides.  You could ride in mats, innertubes, rafts, or just your back, depending on the ride.  There was a lazy river, a wave pool, and a place for very little kids.

We spent the day surrounded by water, and I confess that at first I spent more time thinking about Physics than about water.  How could we be sure that we wouldn't get airborn and sail off the slide?  What actually happened in that vortex?  Could the raft really get that high?  How much did we all weigh and how should we space ourselves in the inner tube built for 4?

Later in the day, I thought about all the water we sloshed through the park--how we moved it on our bodies, how it dripped off the rides only to evaporate, how it got cleaned and recycled.  I thought about third world citizens who would be amazed at this wealth of water, and I thought about how few of us really seemed to appreciate it.  I also thought about how thirsty I was as we trooped from slide to slide.  I didn't want to pay the hefty price for a park drink, and there were no water fountains for drinking.

As we floated on the lazy river, with water raining down on us, I thought of Martin Luther and his advice to remember our baptism each morning as we splashed water on our faces.  I've since wondered if he really said that, since people in Luther's day used water very differently than we do.  But I do appreciate the sentiment.  As we floated, I imagined all my inadequacies washing away.

At first I thought, if only it was that easy.  But the sacrament of baptism tells us that it is that easy, that water and words combined with God's grace can do what we cannot do ourselves.

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