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MANY WATERS

The voice of the Lord is over the water; the God of glory thunders; the Lord is over many waters. (Psalm 29:3)

Despite my umbrella and raincoat, I am soaked to the knees before I reach the subway station, my cute shoes with the striped bows ruined. The streets run with rivers of water, reminding me of childhood play when my brother and I would sail paper boats down the swollen culverts at our beach house.

The water feels tepid as I splash through it. My feet are already soaked, I reason, so rather than sidestep the rushing streams at the street corner, I jump into puddle after puddle, laughing as I make my way home.

At the end of a long week, the gift of playful water has renewed me.

Water itself has no magical properties. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. But it is also a vital part of our earthly existence; it surrounds us in the womb, maintains our body temperature, and helps every cell in our bodies to function.

God has also ordained water to renew us in the Sacrament of Baptism. The Introduction to the Sacrament of Holy Baptism says, “We are initiated into Christ’s holy church, incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation, and given new birth through water and the Holy Spirit.” In the rite of baptism, the members of the church vow to surround the baptized with love, prayer, and forgiveness, much as water surrounds and provides for us from the time of our conception. 

Jesus provided us with the example of baptism when John immersed Him in the waters of the Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17). He instructed His disciples to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:18-20).

The waters of baptism have no special powers; it is plain and simple water, but it is a symbol of entrance into the Christian family. While many churches do not practice infant baptism, the Church of the Atonement of Claymont welcomes anyone of any age to the family of believers through baptism. Peter provides the background for the baptism of children in Acts 2:35-41 during the Day of Pentecost when he told the people, “Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

On Sunday, May 22, 2022, God called Lucas Alexander Knutson to join the family of Christ here at Atonement. Only seven months old, he does not yet understand all that it means to be a member of God’s family. His mother Paula, his grandmother Cathy, his godmother Xyla, and his babysitter Theresa will do their part in teaching him what family is. But we who stood up in church last Sunday also bear responsibility for serving as examples of God’s care to Lucas and surrounding him with love.

No matter how many puddles he splashes in and how much mud he tracks across  the floors. 

And as he grows, may we remember our own childhoods, sailing boats down the rivers made by the rain, splashing happily in puddles with no thought to our shoes, and drinking in with wonder all God has provided.

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY, LUCAS!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda Cobourn

Linda Cobourn picked up a pencil when she was nine and hasn’t stopped writing since, but she never expected to write about adult autism and grief. When her husband died after a long illness, she began a remarkable journey of faith with her son, an adult with Asperger’s syndrome. The author of Tap Dancing in Church, Crazy: A Diary, and Scenes from a Quirky Life, she holds an MEd in Reading and an EdD in Literacy. Dr. Cobourn also writes for Aspirations, a newsletter for parents of autistic offspring. Her work in progress, tentatively titled Finding Dad: A Journey of Faith on the Autism Spectrum, chronicles her son’s unique grief journey. Dr Cobourn teaches English as a Second Language in Philadelphia and lives with her son and a fat cat named Butterscotch in Delaware County. She can be contacted on her blog, Quirky, and her Amazon author page. 

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