Washed By The Water
I spent this past weekend with my extended family as a surprise visit from my sisters and brothers-in-law kicked off a weekend of celebrating graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, and more. We spent hours laughing, playing games, enjoying delicious food, talking, sharing stories, encouraging each other, shedding a few tears, and just plain old being together. Simply put, it was awesome.
It also was the first time that these five new brothers-in-law got to spend some real quality time together since the most recent Udinski family wedding, which happened earlier this month. Thanks to the grace and kindness of our wives (and mom, of course!) we were able to carve out some time to play a few games of “H-O-R-S-E” and “21,” two of our favorite versions of slightly-less-intense basketball (though the intensity level still got up there). While we played, my youngest brother-in-law posed this question: imagine you had a full day, and then a full weekend, where you had the opportunity to rest: no work, no chores, nothing on the calendar, just an extended period of rest, and rejuvenation . . . how would you choose to spend that day, and then that weekend, and with whom?
As a husband and father of a 7-year-old daughter, a 5-year-old son, and a 2-year-old daughter, that question made me laugh out loud at first (as did my brother with his 2-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son), but as we dove into our answers, we found out a few things - some of which we already knew, but still, great things of which to be reminded:
We all love adventures in nature
We all would include each other in the day and/or weekend of rest
While we don’t find the time for this as often as we used to, we all still love sitting
around a campfire and playing music
We all find rest in playing sports
Each of our answers revolved heavily around an extended period of unorganized sports. For anyone who knows me, that shouldn’t come as a surprise - I love sports! It struck me though that each of us chose, as part of our specific rest time, to include a sport. Typically, “sports” and “rest” don’t go hand-in-hand, but as we took shots on the basketball court in my parents’ driveway, it was a great reminder of how restful sports can be.
Sports, though, present a problem for our washing machines. As I said, we didn’t “go all out” in our games of H-O-R-S-E or 21, but that hour-plus of basketball left us filled on the inside but sweaty, dirty, covered in pollen, and in need of a washing on the outside. It’s not uncommon to hear coaches encouraging their players to “get dirty” while playing their respective sports - not in a mean-spirited way or by seeking to harm others, but by diving to stop a goal or a ground ball, sliding into second base, or being the first one to hit the dirt to recover a loose ball. This kind of effort is applauded by coaches and fans everywhere, but when the time comes to hop in the car for the postgame ride home, every speck of that effort reminds us as players (and parents) of the need for a good washing. What once covered us needs to be removed, replaced by something new, something fresh, something clean.
In Galatians 3:27, as Paul writes to the church in Galatia, he reminds his audience that as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. These words are, of course, for us, too. They remind us, just as they once did the Galatian Christians, that the decision to be baptized means that we’ve put off the old versions of ourselves, the ones marked by pride, jealousy, anger, bitterness, insecurity, deceit, and all sorts of sin, and we’ve instead put on this new version - in fact, as this verse says, we’ve put on Christ.
There’s a book written by one of my favorite worship artists, David Crowder, called Praise Habit, in which Crowder compares the act of a nun putting on her habit each morning with us putting on Christ. Jesus becomes our uniform, my friends. When people see us simply walking down the street, they notice something different about us, much like a nun walking by in her habit would catch our eye because it’s, simply put, different. Baptism is our opportunity to say to the world, “I’m different . . . but not because of me or my own accomplishments; instead, it’s because of Christ - Christ in me, but Christ on me, too! I have been washed by the water!"
If you’re reading this before June 4th, come join us and witness the life-changing decision of baptism at our Summer Baptism services at 9:00 AM and 10:30 AM.