This entry is part of an occasional series in which metaphorical ideas find their way onto your screen. Its roots are simple: There may be life lessons to find in just about anything. Maybe not all that strange…?
My recent trip to a laundromat got me thinking about Baptism. (As Titus 3:5 has it, “the washing of regeneration.”) How Baptism might be like God doing the laundry.
Let me set the scene: High-tech washing machines fill a large room, attentive dryers lining the walls. These are thoroughly modern appliances, no longer the contraptions of an earlier era. The new washers are smart, sensitive to what’s placed inside them—tuned to the desires of the washing person. Their several programmed approaches to cleanliness ensure that soap-infused dirt is removed, that grime is drained or siphoned away and that now-cleansed clothing has most of its residual moisture rapidly spun away. The machines work quickly and quietly, much of their work out-of-sight, so only the clothes and the appliances know what’s happening. Their work comes at some cost.
The end result: The intent of clothes-washer and the work of the washing machine is assured: What was dirty, soiled, grimy, sullied or polluted is freshly cleansed–renewed and ready to be useful again.
The comparison here? The Church might be the laundromat, God would be the Washer and Baptism might be the mechanism for God’s insistent grace in cleaning the grit of sin from our souls. However it’s encountered—sprinkling, pouring or immersion—the water does its work quickly and efficiently. There may not be much to see, but the cleansing has been accomplished nonetheless. The cost? The life-changing promises of those who are baptized to “reject sin, profess faith Jesus Christ and confess the faith of the church” and to live “in the covenant of Baptism and in communion with the church.” Lifelong commitments, lifelong work for the baptized.
As modern as a washing machine—and as old as God’s love—Baptism still washes us clean. Thanks be to God!
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