sand castles

Sometimes I sit in front of this screen with the words “Write Post” at the top, commanding me to perform, and I struggle for more than an hour to find the right thread to pull from my soul, if I can find one at all.  I’ve had many of those nights recently, as you can probably tell from my lack of success in writing posts.

It’s as if my thoughts are grains of sand that fall apart at the slightest application of pressure.

Have you ever tried to build a sand castle with dry sand?  All you really get is a pile of sand.  To do justice to the art, you have to get down close to the water, where the waves have moistened the grains into something workable.

Without the water, the thoughts, experiences, insights, and visions, remain uninspired and disjointed, falling through my fingers without shape or form.  Even with water, they are, at their best, fragile and subject to the elements.

On Sunday evening, 70 people were baptized during a potluck and worship celebration at our church, with at least ten times that many people cheering them through the water.  Mothers and fathers baptized their children, sisters took turns baptizing each other, pastors baptized those they had inspired, and friends led their life-long friends through a proclamation of new life.

Grown men cried and testified of their need to follow Jesus in this way, and little children raised their dripping arms in celebration.

An hour before the celebration began, I was sitting in Starbuck’s with some friends looking for inspiration and meaning in a rapidly fading weekend.  With a heavy dose of sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek, I proposed to my friends that our Christianity might be half-baked, and a habit that should be dropped if we couldn’t find true inspiration and meaningful support for our faith.

As I sat with those friends along the back wall of our church and watched the parade of people step into the cold water and then step out, sopping wet, with tears and shouts of joy, and testimonies of true inspiration and meaningful support found there in that miniature pool, my parched sand found a little moisture.

Baptism is a strange ritual in any and all of its forms.  The symbolism is thick and mostly lost on rational, over-stimulated minds.  It requires an emotional, and truly spiritual, perspective to meet its mark.

Our lives in Christ are not intended to be understood easily by the typical mental reference points.  They require a gut check – a visceral response – that is prerequisite to understanding.

I was overwhelmed by the beauty and mystery of that expression occurring there among friends and familiar faces, and I was reminded about the truth by which all things are held together.

Thank God for a little water.

2 thoughts on “sand castles”

  1. I remember when Nathan and I were in Europe at a beach on the Greek island of Corfu… I sat on a beach chair while he built sand sculpture style cartoons, impressing everyone who walked by. Oh, the old days… Thanks, Dale.

  2. I remember that day with Matt too. Good times, it makes me think. Maybe we’re all grains of sand and our lives are held together by the water of memory. The more we have the wetter we are, the longer we last. When we die we get to exist for a little while longer, that is, as long as someone remembers us, then we dry out and fall apart. Interesting then that two thousand years after his death Jesus is still remembered, still touching lives, still making new memories. He is the water of life, the essence that binds us.

    Great blog Dale.

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