There is a long history of giving babies their first baths in the kitchen sink. I can remember doing it a few times myself. After laying down a sort of spongy base, sitting one of our kids in the sink, filling it up with warm water and using that spray nozzle thing to hose off the soapy lather, and then, watch it magically all go down the drain. After a certain age though, something about laying in that increasingly tepid cloudy water seemed less appealing to me. It’s most likely the reason that the thought of recycling that water for something like lemonade doesn’t usually come to mind. Then I recently read a beautiful description of the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist in the waters of the Jordan.
We can imagine the sinless Jesus stepping into the water, taking upon himself the conditions of our sinfulness, and absorbing from the sin laden water all the sins of humankind unto himself.
Sort of a flip of course, as Jesus is again willing to do what most would abhor. Then for some reason, the phrase ‘throwing out the baby with the bath water’ came to mind. Most of us have heard it used when something really good is eliminated when trying to get rid of something bad. The connection is simply this: There are many of us who have done just that. Because of some minor disagreement, some isolated indiscretion, some affront to our sensibilities, relationships have ended. Lifelong friendships and associations are no longer.
We saw this, sadly, during the last presidential election. We see this a lot when it comes to the church. The actions or dogma-spin of church leadership disappoints or even repulses us, in most cases rightfully so. But we need to remember at these times what truly drew us to our faith. It was Jesus. There are countless millions of people who have yet to separate their relationship with their church (whichever one it may be) from their relationship with Jesus. Many of which even reject Jesus because of some misguided belief that church membership is a requirement for salvation. Well I am here to tell you, ‘That just ain’t true!’
And although that little perfect baby sits squarely in the depths of the forgiven sins and inequities of those who are His church, He remains forever spotless. For He is God and we are not. And although we may justify the rejection of our own offenses and corruptible institutions, let’s never reject the core of our true relationship with our Creator:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life…John 3:16
This baby, like all babies, is worth saving.