The water ran down my face and neck, making tracks in my makeup and dropping swiftly onto the carpet below. The pastor said, "Christi Carter, I baptize you in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit." Then he baptized my brothers with my parents at our sides. A common element used everyday, for many necessities: water.
The bread is passed after the pastor says, "On the night He was betrayed, He took bread, gave thanks, and when He broke it said, 'This is My body, broken for you. Take and eat; do this in remembrance of Me.'" Then the pastor lifts the chalice and says, "In the same way, after supper, He took the cup and said, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood, do this, whenever you drink of it, in remembrance of Me.'" Everyday elements. Bread. Fruit of the vine. Whenever you eat and drink of it. Remember Me. (I Cor. 11:23-26)
Brilliant! We use water for many uses everyday. We eat bread and quench our thirst everyday. He used the most basic and normal elements that He consumed and we consume everyday to remind us each meal and in between to remember His covenant to us. Christ didn't leave us with just teachings, and prophesies, and thoughts to remember. He gave us tangible, normal, everyday objects, used for many things, and tells us, whenever we use them, to "do this in remembrance of Him." His covenant unwraps itself and makes its home with us and in us and around us. He knew we needed these reminders midweek when not in the sanctuary of Sunday morning.
In the same way, God, rich in mercy and Big Love, gave us other very tangible ways of learning His love. Though my age was documented as 20-something, I was still preteen emotionally; needy of affirmation, needy of connection; needy of contentment and peace; needy of direction; needy of pure love. Just before I was married, the Holy Spirit spoke to me while reading His word, during a quiet time, showing me He was going to mature me emotionally, that He was lifting me off of the stump I had been sitting on since I was 12 and walking me down the path toward Big Love. He was going to teach me to open my fists that had been clinched, ready to protect myself from the onslaught of intimate pain, and receive His Love. I had no idea how this would manifest, but I trusted.
When the Shepherd, my dear husband, married a teenager, emotionally, he married a girl who was untrusting, broken, quickly provoked, and a bottomless pit of graceless venom. He patiently washed me, pursued me, caressed and comforted me, smoothed oil on my wounds, and waited for me to receive that which was all around me - Love. The love of the Shepherd was the Big Love of God the Father all around me everyday. That untrusting girl needed the Big Love of the Creator, filling the bottomless pit with His Grace. God used the most common person in my everyday life, the one who shares my blankets, my food, my movies and books, my daily routine to usher His Big Love into my sagging heart.
Fast forward five years and in walks another person of His grace into my heart, teaching me about being a child in God's house. This little person was in constant need of nourishment physically and emotionally, constant need of attention and elements necessary for growth. Still in constant need of correction and patience, hugs, assistance, affirmation, direction, guidance, comfort, and love, love, love. He and his little brother desperately need their Heavenly Father's Big Love to fill their sin-stained holes. God has not only given me to them as a means for them to experience the Father's character, but He has given them to me for me to experience the Big Love of a perfect Father as I love them with all my heart in my finite imperfection. Matt. 7:11, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!"
Our God is a God of Big Love. His Big Love is shown in the everyday, seemingly mundane elements and imperfect, even unloving, people who grace us with their presence on a daily even momentary basis, making each moment a sacred gift of His grace. Teaching the truths we read in His word, hear from the pulpit, sing with the throng, and taste in the sacraments. May I slow down enough to savor the moments and see with a pure lens the Big Love that surrounds my heart with constant holiness in the daily drudgery and liturgies of life. Soli Deo Gloria.