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Friday, February 3, 2017

Week 2: Submarine, Day 13: Regular Showers

Week 2: Submarine
Day 13: Regular Showers
Word for Body Day:
"Emollient": adj. having the quality of softening or soothing the skin.



"After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God." 1Peter 3: 19-21
What an interesting picture Peter paints. The waters of judgment at the time of Noah were the waters of salvation for those in the ark. They buoyed the ark up above the threatening waves. But lest we miss the point and think that those who are saved are just the good guys in the boat, Peter points out that Jesus went on a kind of first stop post-resurrection mission trip to the imprisoned spirits of "those who were disobedient" and died in the flood. (see also Ephesians 4:8-9). So, Are the waters of baptism a promise that we will have a clear conscience toward God because we come out of them, like those aboard the ark in the deluge, in rare righteousness, or is it because these waters remind us that Jesus comes to give freedom to the majority, all of us who are justly incarcerated, spirits in bondage, drowned in our decisions? God reaches into the water and pulls out his drowned enemies, reviving them and calling them His friends. The pledge of the floodwaters is the reminder of a new creation that is coming. Peter is making it clear that this isn't just an external washing of the body, like a bath, but a total transformation, from death to life.
I don't know about you, but I don't really wake up until I take a shower. Over the years in various seasons of my life the shower has become a kind of prayer closet for me. Sometimes it was a kind of sensory reminder that God's great love and His compassions are "new every morning". With the sensation of the shower waters washing off the grime of sleep, I would think of God's grace giving me second, third, and thousandth chances, making me fresh again. But I don't think that quite gets at it. Peter says as much. God's work is more like a second Genesis than a legal transaction. This water is not cleaning, it is the water of birth. The pledge of a clear conscience toward God is being reborn, like new creation after the flood. I think the metaphor is important... Yes, there is the drama of guilt and pardon there, of being made clean, but this is a total renewal of identity, we are the image of the living God.
So now, in the shower I'm not thinking of these waters as cleansing, so much. I think of them as primordial waters. The waters of new creation. As I pray in the shower, I pray birth prayers, every day immersed. Every sleep a death. Every morning a rebirth from the waters. "You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator..... Christ is all, and is in all." (Colossians 3:9-10) I am a son of God, and I'm new in him and he is new in me.
Action: One simple way that I have made some intentional sacred space of my shower from time to time is to take a clear plastic sleeve (like the kind that go in a three-ring binder) and stick it to the shower wall tiles with a little bit of moisture. The surface tension will usually hold it. They make suction cups with hooks if this doesn't work, or you can use strong double sided tape when the shower is dry. In that sleeve I rotate out various printed prayers or scriptures or question prompts for me to engage God with. My favorite of these activities has been to post the Lord's prayer in the shower, and to intentionally pray it line by line, putting each line into my own words and elaborating on it with God as I pray, like this:
Our Father......... "God, help me to understand what a good dad is by looking to you. Show me what it means that you are my Father, and remind me that I'm part of a family... it isn't all about me, that you are OUR Father...."
and on I go with wherever the Spirit leads that day.

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