Rev. Gaven Mize
It was cold down there. Or at least I assume it was. From the beginning of time water was meant to sustain life. I know this now. But, I didn't know it then. Had I even tried to search? Did I even care to look? Had I been aware would I have even sought out that which is so desperately needed? I doubt it. I didn't even know how to feed myself. Didn't know how to clean myself, so what hope did I have in saving myself? Rationality wasn't even on the radar for me. I don't recall it. But I'm reminded of it daily now.
There I was in the midst of dry bones. There, I hit rock bottom. I was dead. Who, dear God, who could raise these bones? I was damned. I was ruined.
I wasn't alone in the journey, so to speak. There were many bones that once lay where I lay. Yet, there was no one to be found at the bottom. There was only death there. Who would dare to come keep me company in my worst hour of life? Who would snatch me from within the basin to make me renewed? Who would grant me a life worth not damning? Who?
So, there I was. I was bones in the bottom of the basin. The man in the robes spoke the words and the water was poured over me. But still, there was Someone there that day and in that basin: Christ. While I was dying in the waters of baptism there stood a cross before my eyes, though I couldn't even think for myself. I died. I died the death of Jesus, yet it was He who brought me out of the water.
And now, having had my bones laid at the bottom of the font, I have been raised to new life. How could water do such wonderful things? But that's just it; it wasn't the water alone, but the water with the Word of God and the faith now granted to me that I could trust the very Word and water that put me to death.
Dark was the way, yet Christ preceded me. And now He spreads a table where He feeds me with His Body and His Blood. The hymn is right: "Christ preceded me in this death I have died." Now a look down on the font as a risen saint of God. And that's it. I have been resurrected in His resurrection. I'm new.
The bones that laid at the bottom of the font have, because of Christ's death, grown sinew and muscle. New flesh has been grafted to the once dead body. The horror of it all; the beauty of it all. And now I stand as a forgiven saint and proclaim what has happened and I can't go to the altar enough, for this new body hungers for the food that the Savior gives—Body and Blood for me that I would have part in Christ.
I was dead. Now, I am alive. I am baptized.
Rev. Gaven M. Mize serves as pastor at Augustana Lutheran Church, Hickory, North Carolina.
Created: April 11th, 2016