I remember looking at Reese’s eyes one day and being impressed by something I couldn’t quite figure out at first. So I kept staring, which I’m sure made her a little uncomfortable. Then I realized it. The whites of Reese’s eyeballs were a perfect, milky white.
That may sound like a given to you, but I’m not so sure. When I look at my eyes there are all these red streaks in them. I guess these streaks are strained and broken blood vessels. My best theory is that my eyes are bloodied by the wear and tear of use and misuse throughout long years of looking and living. Maybe your eyes are a bit streaked as well.
But not Reese’s eyes, at least they weren’t bloodied yet. If I’m right, Reese’s eyes were clean and clear because her eyes were enjoying a fresh start. She was, after all, only five months old at the time. Her eyes were just beginning, as was she.
There is an ancient Christian tradition when it comes to baptism. One of the realities of Christian faith baptism represents to us is that of new birth. By identifying ourselves with the faithful love of God in Jesus, we can receive an opportunity to begin again with God, with our world, and even with even ourselves. This is good news.
All of us emerged through the water of a woman’s uterus as fresh and new children. And such a gift was made possible, made real, by the grace given us by a mother.
Baptism calls us to imagine that through water each of us can emerge again. We can begin again. We can be born with clear eyes and a soft heart. And such a gift is made possible, made real, by the grace of the God who smiles at us through the face of Jesus.
Tradition has it that sometimes in the early days of Christ’s people a person would be baptized naked and then clothed in a fresh white robe, a garment un-streaked by the use and misuse of life. The person wearing that perfect, milky robe had been given a fresh start in Jesus. And so, by Christ’s power, that person could see the world with eyes as unmarked as the robe.
Dare to believe it. Dare to act out of the belief. We can all become new because of God’s love known through Jesus. Can we believe it? Can we live with the hope and lightness of being that comes from such shocking good news?