"Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10
I created these weekly Lenten photography prompts to help focus my heart, my camera the paintbrush. This week it was "clean"... God's grace and love poured out on the cross makes us clean. But it's a costly and different, more complete and less organized kind of clean. William Willimon's words hit home:
That day at the Jordan, knee deep in cold water, with old John drenching him, the Annointed One began his journey down the via crucis. His baptism intimated where he would finally end. His whole life was caught up in this single sign. Our baptism does the same.
The chief biblical analogy for baptism is not the water that washes but the flood that drowns. Discipleship is more than turning over a new leaf. It is more fitful and disorderly than gradual moral formation. Nothing less than daily, often painful lifelong death will do. So Paul seems to know not whether to call what happened to him on the Damascus Road "birth" or "death"- it felt like both at the same time...
On the bank of some dark river, as we are thrust backward, onlookers will remark, 'They could kill somebody like that.' To which old John might say, 'Good, you're finally catching on.'
I'm still trying to work out what this means for my life, for the steps I take, for the things I do, but I find comfort in Willimon's description of them being fitful and disorderly, like baptism itself. It's messy and mysterious all at once, but always good when we daily place ourselves into that place of complete trust. May we all work it out, day by day, minute by minute, drowning out our old selves and breathing in the new life that brings every good thing.