What do you do when you're tired and stressed? You relax in a bath or pool.
What do you do when you need a kick start in the morning? You wake yourself up with a shower.
Wonderful gifts for those of us with the privilege of easy access to fresh, clean water. After a bath, shower or swim, one can feel like a new person, ready to face whatever comes next. Tomorrow is the Sunday when Christians remember the baptism of Christ in the river Jordan by his cousin John. It marked the beginning of his public ministry. Jesus didn't need to undergo John's baptism of repentance, but he wanted to be alongside those who did, fully immersed in being human.
Without water we couldn't live, so it's not surprising that most of the world's religions use water in a variety of symbolic ways. This is certainly true in the Jewish religion in which Jesus was brought up. One of the blogs I follow is that of Velveteen Rabbi, written by Rachel Barenblat a creative writer and Jewish rabbinic student who tomorrow will be ordained as a rabbi. She was planning a pre-ordination immersion in water. On 4 January 2011 she posted a beautiful prayer she wrote to use before the mikvah. Here it is:
Intention / כוונה
I come before You today
in gratitude for the teachers who have guided me
in deepening my spiritual practice
in heady intellectual learning
in opening my heart to Torah,
to God, and to community
and in how to tie my shoes
Holy One of Blessing, thank You
for leading me to my community of learning
for being with me through struggles and rejoicing
for my beloved companions on this journey
for my family and friends who have supported me
and for the riches of this tradition
Help me to let go of what I need to release
So that I may be open
to the changes which are coming.
Is there anything you need to let go of, so as to be open to the changes coming for you?