My post today is not an unedited five-minute long free write; I wrote for longer than five minutes and did the usual blog post editing.
Water brings us life? Water is life! When I feel surrounded by doubt or discouragement, I need to get to the water. The late American composer Aaron Copland's long choral anthem In the Beginning with text from Genesis 1 and 2 announces,
1. A mist or stream spreads across the landBut there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
2. God creates a human – A-dam – out of earth, "the dust of the ground"
3. God causes the human to breathe the breath of the Divine—God's own Spirit
Walking ankle-deep along water's edge where sand of the land and water of the sea meet particularly grants perspective; it's a liminal threshold location that echoes and replicates the experience of baptism.
Waters I've literally fled to include commercial piers and wharves, endless stretches of coastal Pacific beaches, inner city strip beaches (approx equivalent to strip malls along the highway), sudden cloudbursts, gentle rain showers. Along the ocean shore at low tide, I often breathe in less alluring smells than high tide's fresh salty celebrations. But that's okay! It's part of being alive! In all those places I remember the baptism where God marked me with the cross of Christ forever—and breathed into me the breath of the Divine. I leave the water, go onto the land, into the city, and everywhere I venture I breathe out the Spirit of the Divine, the Spirit of Life.
When the world closes in about me on all sides, I need to get to the water, preferably somewhere streams and rivers and seas meet earth. That's where I remember baptism's claim on me, baptism's promise. Water brings life? Water is life! Living baptized, I walk in the obedient freedom of covenanted life as I breathe in, breathe out into the world the Spirit of Pentecost, the Spirit of the first creation, the Spirit and hope for the New Creation.
PS: In the world of graphic design and typography, when it would be visually expedient to increase or widen the tracking or space between letters we sometimes say, "let the type breathe." Most of the new, organic, hand-drawn fonts have very tight tracking, so I'm grateful to have software that supports Open Type.