Day 11: Wednesday in the Second Week of Lent
He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
Years ago, when it came time to move my grandmother from her home to a care center, we found in her bedroom closet several nightgowns that had been given to her by her children, still in their boxes beneath folds of tissue paper. Grammy loved them all, but they were “too nice” to wear – though they were relatively simple white cotton nightgowns. I don’t know the proper words for the few frills across the top, perhaps with a little pink ribbon in a bow. But Grammy didn’t feel worthy of such finery.
I understand. She had grown up on a small farm in Sweden absent her father, come to this country at 18, worked hard to build a life and raise children during the depression, and – for most of my young life – fed herself and Grampa (and us grandkids) with the fruits of their small but abundant backyard garden. She baked her own bread, canned her own applesauce, and scraped the dirt off but wouldn’t peel the carrots. She wasn’t one for frills.
“He saved us.” The promise that comes to us in baptism is gift. The life that was laid down was gift. The new creation that comes is gift. In the language of the first century we are given new white robes that are much too nice for the likes of us. But they are given. Given freely. Given of God’s mercy.
Hopefully, they won’t be found in our closets.
in the waters of baptism you grant us great and eternal promises.
Keep us this day in your word of grace and life
that we may walk in gratefulness and joy.
– A prayer for the second week of Lent