Sometimes, you happen upon something that takes you back to another place and another time. I am not going to west Texas this summer, but a bit of it found me on a hot summer day in New England. With some free time on our hands, I called a family meeting and we voted for our top three things to do this holiday week-end: swimming in a local lake; climbing; and buying a dog. Two out of three ain't bad. As we rounded the turn and walked toward the water, we were met with the above sight. My kids had no idea what was happening but I was hit with a wave of nostalgia so strong, I could hear it...and in fact, this song made it's way to the front of my consciousness:
Are you washed?
Are you washed?
Are you washed in the blood of the lamb? Are your garments spotless are they white as snow, are you washed in the blood of the lamb?
As a matter of fact, I am washed in the blood of the lamb....many years ago (this is code for being baptized). Not in a lake, but in a baptismal which is kind of like a bathtub set high above the altar. When you take Jesus for your savior, you wade in with the preacher, dressed in white robes, and he dunks you in the water. The water washes away your sins, and you begin anew...walking with the Lord. I remember two things from that day: water getting up my nose and my grandmother's face, registered with relief, joy, and something else. Perhaps the realization that her granddaughter had a few more spiritual beginnings to tackle before landing on sacred ground that would prove to be a better fit than the Church of Christ. My dad was baptized in a lake by his dad, a Baptist preacher. I think all of these rituals are embedded in my cultural memory.
I had mixed feelings when we witnessed yesterday's sacred act. I felt like we were out of place and eavesdropping. I also joked with my husband about swimming in holy water. Then I remembered we are all striving for something holy in a world that sometimes forgets to look for it. Sometimes it finds you when you least expect it.