Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pedalling Pell-mell Through the Rain

Yesterday I was helping hand out lemonade on the campus of West
Virginia University at the Lutheran Campus Ministry. Mid-afternoon it
started to threaten rain. We called it a day, and after a brief
meeting, I headed home.

Which was fine, except that in the morning, knowing that traffic
downtown would be horrendous, I rode my bike circumventing most roads
by using the newly repaved rail trail.. A bright, sunny morning became
a dark, downpour in the afternoon.

But I knew that there were worse things than riding through the rain.
So off I headed, out the door. I hadn't ridden more than fifty feet
though when my sunglasses not only became spotted with drops but
fogged up as well. So there I was riding through not insignificant
traffic to get to the trail, getting absolutely soaked and barely able
to see.

Once on the trail though, it wasn't any better, at least as far as
vision was concerned. Traffic was much better. But I still had to
make allowance for runners, walkers and other bikers as we travelled
on the rain-soaked trail together. After a while I realized that it
was futile trying to pedal as fast as possible to stay as dry as
possible. I was already soaked clean through. So I slowed a little
and tried to alternate between wearing glasses and not. That was a
losing effort as well. With the glasses the copious rain drops
blocked my vision. Without my glasses I couldn't see because they were
my glasses, not just my sunglasses.

With the water pouring of me in rivers, I of course reflect on
baptismal imagery. I can't help it. It's conditioned response I
suppose. Water? Baptism! But so be it.

I strive to walk wet, soaked in the waters of baptism daily. Yet here
I was completely soaked and unable to see as clearly as when I was
dry. I wonder if our baptismal life isn't similar.

Knowing that we are children of God, trusting the promise made in
baptism, doesn't guarantee any clearer vision at least as far as the
path of our life is concerned. Certainty is not the issue, trust is.
We trust that the one we follow leads us through all uncertainty. And
there is plenty I cannot see or know in this life of faith. I think
sometimes it is clearer when NOT engaged in the life of faith, I
follow my own path, chasing my own desires, very little guesswork.
Too likely though, this leads to the ultimate death of my self.

This baptismal life is not entirely clear as we discern where our Lord
calls us. What is right here and now might not be right later. There
are certainly norms. I am not saying that we are called to just any
life. After all, yesterday, despite being hard to see at places, I
did know that there was a path. If I had veered off the trail, I
would have known quickly to turn around and get back on. But we don't
always know what's coming. Pedalling pell-mell through the rain
reminds me of the trust that we're called to daily as we walk wet.

Sent from my mobile device

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