June 14, 2017
For the next few weeks, I’ll be continuing our pastoral tradition of sharing some spiritual reflection on daily life. Things will get quiet in July, but this fall we’ll launch a new Elmhurst CRC church blog—with some new twists!
Earlier this week I was invited to a demolition party. In the course of 35 minutes, a well-piloted excavator laid waste to a dilapidated two-story house in Villa Park. The excavator pushed and whacked and occasionally took enormous bites [CDR1] out of the structure—crunching like a giant eating saltine crackers.
It was a spectacular sight. At 7:30 a.m., the old house stood under a perfect summer blue sky. By 8:05 a.m., only a rubble-filled lot remained.
It struck me how much simpler and speedier destruction is than construction. How many months of planning, building, and finishing went into that house decades ago? All of that work was all erased in a matter of minutes. As someone who frequently wrestles to create music and sermons, I’m humbled that in a fallen world, creative power is so much more complicated, costly, and time-consuming than the power to undo.
As I mused on this, other images crossed my mind: a cleansing flood or a clean sweep, a time when a powerful wind or torrent of water comes through and sets the stage for something new to arrive. This is a more positive way of interpreting the demolition!
Then my thoughts turned to the waters of baptism. Both the destructive and constructive power of God come together in what those waters represent: the blood of Christ. In only a moment, the blood of Christ can undo a lifetime of sin and demolish our false identities. In only a moment, the blood of Christ can create in us a clean heart, renew a right Spirit, and give us a new and lasting identity in Jesus: demolition and construction all at once. Only God can do that! And of course, given God’s interest in renovating the human heart, it’s also fair to say that God is also in the long-term restoration business.
This week at Elmhurst CRC, the water of baptism—and what it represents—will be the center of Sunday morning worship. We have the privilege of seeing a number of young people profess their faith in Jesus, and one of them will be baptized by immersion. I trust it will be even more spectacular than what I saw in Villa Park!