1 Peter 3:18-22
For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight people, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.
Devotion by Rev. Courtney Jones
I’ve never been able to resist water. When I was three or four, I remember playing in a puddle on our street after a summer rain. On this particular late afternoon, I was already dressed to go out with my parents to an event—my dad would be home any minute, and when he arrived, we’d all go. It was fine to splash my bare feet, but I was not to get my clothes dirty. All the way from the front porch, my mom saw it coming: “Don’t you dare sit in that puddle in your clean clothes!” And I thought about it; I really did. But to my young mind, the water warmed by the asphalt was like magic, and I just couldn’t help myself. I sat in it. And then I lay in it. It really was magical for the second or two it took for my mom to register the mischief she was witnessing. I was immediately in Very Big Trouble, Missy, in need of fresh clothes if not an entire bath.
The good news, as I see it, is that God is also a big fan of water; time and again, water is the symbol of something new, of God washing away what has been to clear the way for what will be. From the water of creation to the parting of the Red Sea to Noah’s flood, water reminds us that even as we wash the ash from our foreheads, God is pouring out goodness, flooding us with love, cleansing injustice with righteousness like an overflowing stream, and renewing us through the water that Jesus went through at his baptism. Anytime I splash in a puddle, or let the water run over my soapy hands, I hope it reminds me to “appeal to God for a good conscience,” and that I feel my cosmic connection to creation.
God, thanks for dirt that reminds us we are human and for water that reminds us we are Yours. Amen.