At the beginning of last summer, my kids took a week’s worth of swim lessons. On the first day I watched them stand behind the other children on the pool steps. One child couldn’t stop jumping in and another kept going underwater. My kids, Charlotte and Isaac, kept their eyes trained on them all, barely putting their hands in the water. 

Throughout the week, Charlotte and Isaac made their way deeper into the water, bouncing and splashing along with their classmates. They stretched their arms and kicked their legs. When it was Isaac’s turn to swim, the teacher reached her arms to him and carried him through the water as he kicked his legs softly. By the end of the week, neither hesitated to get into the water. 

After the lessons, we continued to go to the pool. One day Charlotte surprised me when she jumped into the water and began to swim toward the side. Another day Isaac told me, “I swim by myself.” More and more the kids were gaining confidence. 

Isn’t this a lot like our faith? Some days we’re afraid of what we don’t know. Other days we’re ready to dive right into community and learning. And, many times, we need the support and encouragement of others. We need others to carry us. We delight in being together. 

The pool is a great place to remind our children that they are loved just as they are. Each time they splash in the water, we can remind them of the waters of baptism. Each time they stand back afraid, we can declare to them God’s presence. Each time they cheer in glee, we can give thanks for God’s joy. 

Water seems so ordinary, yet our faith teaches us of the extraordinary power found in it: through the water and God’s word at our baptism, we are declared good and God’s beloved.  

This summer, find some water either outside or in the bathtub to splash around in. With your kids, delight in the water, jump, splash and share the joy with others. Most importantly, give thanks to the God who welcomes us abundantly through the waters of baptism. 

Practices

  • Sit outside with your family near water. Bring your Bible and read the story of Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:13-17). Remind one another that you, too, are God’s beloved.
  • Anytime you’re at the pool or bathing your kids, make the sign of the cross on their foreheads and remind them of God’s love.

 

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is kimberlyknowlezeller.com.

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