We are back from the Holy Land trip, and it was a great experience. Among our best memories will be our time on the Sea of Galilee. Our Indiana group (which moved around in four buses) boarded two boats, traveled to the middle of the Sea of Galilee, the boats were lashed together, and I led devotions in the middle of that lake which is formed by the Jordan River in the beautiful valley. It had rained the previous night, but the morning dawned sunny and bright, and the waters of the Sea of Galilee were as smooth and glassy as I have ever seen them. While I was leading devotions about Jesus calming the storm on the sea, a beautiful rainbow even appeared!
But we should have known that a rainbow in the morning indicated that we were between the rising sun and the water-filled clouds to the distant west. Sure enough, a rainstorm soon came up, just like in the story of Jesus and his disciples on the lake with a sudden storm, and by the time our two boats reached the shore at Capernaum we were all absolutely drenched as we got off the boats and walked up to the pavilion. Surprisingly no one really complained – in fact most of us felt like we had just experienced it all on the Sea of Galilee: sunshine, rainbow, rain, and storm.
Later that same day we participated in a baptism renewal service along the River Jordan where it flows out from the south end of the Sea of Galilee. Once again, as I was offering baptism renewal to the final busload from Indiana, it began pouring rain and we all got soaked even if we were not immersed in the River Jordan. The theme of that whole day was “wet” and “soaked.”
My daughter Laura described it best. She said to me, “Dad, you always taught there are three types of baptism: Aspersion (sprinkling), Affusion (pouring), and Immersion (being submerged into the water). You need to add a fourth category of Marinated.” It sure felt like we had been marinated with water that day, and maybe that is a good image for being marinated, totally soaked, through and through, with God’s love.
As we move through this Lenten season, don’t focus upon what to give up for Lent. Rather focus upon the ways that God wants to marinate, soak, and totally surround you with God’s love. From that kind of experience, I don’t want to ever dry out.
from Bishop Michael J. Coyner