This week's Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) for the Baptism of Our Lord includes Genesis 1:1-5 as the first reading. It reads, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness, swept over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light, 'day,' and the darkness God called 'night.' There was evening and there was morning--the first day."
So, where's the baptismal imagery? Only everywhere, if we connect with the deep roots of our tradition (something that I'm still learning every day). But what struck me about this juxtaposition for today's reading was the imagery of birth.
The Gospel passage from Mark reveals God naming Jesus as a child. The Genesis passage reveals the first light of creation through the chaos of waters. Both instances carry imagery of new birth, and particularly, of water breaking.
Yes, that kind of water breaking.
Today, my water broke. No, not that kind of water break. The temperatures dropped so low that our pipes froze. I didn't know that when I got in the shower, but just as I had lathered up my hair, the water disappeared. What I found out, very quickly, was that life without water is hard. No hair rinsing. Gritty teeth brushing. No drinking. Hydration, a necessity for life itself, fails without water.
We're carried in water for nine months before we're born, and in our baptisms, we're carried to eternity through the gift of water and the Spirit. Life comes through the breaking of water, first those waters that crash at creation of the world and the creation of each of our lives, and then the baptismal waters that crash around us at the font.
As we celebrate Jesus' baptism this Sunday, we recall that God brought the world into existence through the breaking of water, that we came into the world through the breaking of water, and that we came into eternal life, we became citizens of God's kingdom, through the breaking waters of Baptism.
Simultaneously a sinner and a saint.