Saturday, September 12, 2009

Children and water

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved child, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17

It is a rainy Saturday and all I could think about were the ancient images (ancient for me, that is) from my childhood of Christopher Robin in huge boots carrying an umbrella. When I was a child, I loved the rain, and used to tug on boots and spend hours jumping in the puddles. I imagined myself, like Christopher Robin, out in my own magic world, with cooperative animal friends in tow. I would jump fiercely hoping to make the water splash above my head. I wore an old rubber rain coat, but didn't care if I got wet. In water there is power - all children knows this. We learn it early with bath times and spills. We can make adults scream when wet flies everywhere. We can become clean again while we play with toys in a deep tub. A child with a good imagination can make the tub time last for hours until the water is very cold.

Jesus is baptized by John and his father, God, talks to him and the crowd from heaven. God tells the man, God's child, that God is well pleased. I have often wondered whether God spoke to Jesus as a child and told him to go inside, wash his face. Did God speak displeasure? Or only pleasure? Being a very human child, I wondered at these things all my life, hoping that Jesus jumped in puddles and got scolded just like me. I had proud parents too, who told me when they were proud of me. Not often enough for my liking, of course, but they did speak praise too.

Today, as the rain comes down, I hope we can remember that God looks upon us all as beloved children, sons and daughters all. God wants us to delight in the created world and one another. God encourages us to use the gifts we have been given, and to show the love we have for one another in bright and glorious ways. If human fathers, like A.A. Milne can write praise of his child, how much more does our heavenly parent love and adore us? May we revel in the love showered down upon us from heaven.

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