Close your eyes, and think for a minute about someone you love. A relative. A friend. Picture their face, hear their voice in your mind…imagine yourself sitting with them. Maybe you’re sharing a cup of tea in front of the fireplace, your feet up on an ottoman and your lap covered with a cozy blanket. Or maybe you’re dreaming of summer – it will come, I promise! – and you and your beloved are sitting in the shade of a spreading tree, sipping lemonade and watching the butterflies hover lazily over the grass. Have you got the image solidly in your mind?
Now I want you to imagine telling that person how you feel about them. Tell your beloved all that happens in your heart when you’re around them, how they fill your life with joy and laughter, or how you know that with that special person you always feel at peace. Share in your mind what you’d say…
Did you want anything about your beloved to change? If anything did change, would it matter? Would it matter if your beloved lost a limb, or was transfigured by tragedy? Would you still love that person?
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 that love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Would your love for those you hold dear bear and believe, hope and endure all things?
I appreciate the expression, “God loves you exactly the way you are – and has no intentions of leaving you that way!” And it’s true – every bit as true as it is of us. When we think of those we love, we want them to grow. We want them to experience new things and gain a deeper understanding of both themselves and the world around them, of their relationship with God and their relationships with others. We don’t wish for stagnancy. We don’t want them to be like a prairie slough, so still that algae forms on the surface and the depths turn murky. No! We want those we love to be living water – water that moves and tumbles, gurgles with laughter and reshapes the shoreline wherever it passes.
Jesus was baptized in living water – a moving river. When we baptize, if we don’t have a river to baptize in, we pour the water into the font…we splash it around and move it…it’s living water. We are invited into a life of change and growth, of renewal and rebirth. We are invited to move and tumble, laugh, and reshape the world around us through the love and grace of God which live inside us.
God loves us just the way we are – and has no intentions of leaving us this way! Life in the living water of God will always draw us in to be reshaped, to grow, to be renewed and reborn. Life with God, who bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things is always an adventure!
The Rev Janet Taylor
Interim Moderator, Sherwood Park Presbyterian Church