June 6, 1965, 57 years ago today, my parents brought me to the baptismal font at Diamond Lake Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis. There, they held me over the font while Pastor Gordon Bergin poured water over my head 3 times: “In the name of the Father, in the name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Spirit.” Today I remember that event, and the gift that came in the water.
“Water always wins.” Those are the words that the contractor said to me when he came to give me an estimate on the cost to clean up the water damage. It was probably 25 years ago and a pipe had leaked in my basement and the slow, steady, small drip had spread for 12 days throughout my basement, so that when I came home and stepped on the carpet, the water soaked up through my toes and over my foot. It had damaged the carpet, and wicked its way up and into the walls. It was a major repair.
Water always wins.
I’ve already written about how last week Lori and I were up on the north shore of Lake Superior. There, we hiked to a bunch of the different waterfalls between Beaver Bay and Grand Marais. It was beautiful. The water levels were really high and all of the different falls we saw were just roaring. We get up there and then just stare at the falls, taking them all in.
These water falls had been here for probably thousands of years, running almost constantly. And I couldn’t wonder how the landscape had changed over time as the water very slowly cut its way through the rock face. And I’d wondered how it would continue to change over time. In 1,000 years, what would Gooseberry Falls, or Cascade Falls, or the Temperance River falls look like?
There is no way to tell. But there is this one thing that we know: Water always wins.
The water would continue to flow. And the falls will continue to change as the water applies its pressure.
Water always wins.
57 years ago, I received the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the water of baptism. And for the last 57 years, the Spirit has continued to apply gentle pressure: moving me, shaping me and encouraging me. God’s promises have been made real to me, and because of those promises, I have been changed.
The Holy Spirit is about transformation. She is about changing us from one thing into another, taking God’s vision for each of our lives and making it a reality.
Galatians 3:27 tells us that: “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
Come Holy Spirit. Transform, change and mold. Cut through those things that we need to leave behind, and shape us to be who God has created us to be.