My family and I are rejoicing about our new bathroom. Our house is 40 years old, and our upstairs bathroom was ready to fall through the floor. A diagnosis of a rotting sub-floor gave us no choice but to gut the old and start from scratch. We had a very painless construction process, but three weeks without a bathtub was a struggle. Baths are a regular occurrence at our house (especially on spaghetti nights, of course) and they are a much-loved ritual by both our kids. After three weeks of showers and baths in the kitchen sink, our bathroom was finally finished yesterday. Tonight was our first night in the new bathtub, and it was a regular party. I had no idea how excited the kids would be to get their bathtub back, but there was much dancing and splashing as they embraced their bath time ritual once again. During my son's bath, my daughter ran around the house and attempted to throw everything she could find into the bathtub--at first it was tub toys, but soon it was books, stuffed animals, remote controls, and various other inappropriate objects. We had to chase her down each time, but there was no way to keep her out of the bathroom, as a shut door led to very loud protests. The excitement was more than she could handle.
All of this, of course, turned my mind to God's great bath in baptism. Families sometimes sound surprised at how accommodating I am when they call to schedule a baptism. They ask me many questions: Do I need to be a member of the church? No. Is my baby too old? No, never! Can we schedule it for next month? Yes! They are often surprised at how eager I am to participate in a baptism. Yet there is something so special and exciting about God's new bath--a bath that leaves us dancing, celebrating, and splashing for joy. And there is nothing that can't go into that bath. We throw our guilts, our sins, our hurts, our regrets, our sorrows, and our thanks into the baptismal font, for God accepts it all and leaves clean and new each day. Throughout our lives, the knowledge of our baptisms gives us an identity and a purpose and place we can always return to. It is our much beloved daily ritual that starts each day new; for we are new creations, saved by God's grace, chosen as God's beloved, and washed clean over and over again.
So next time your kids are in the tub, make a sign of the cross on their foreheads and remind them that they are baptized. Whenever you wash your hands, remember God washes you clean each day. God's new bath is for you too.