Monday, May 10, 2010

God's Crazy Love

Image:Ken Tennyson (edited in IrfanView)

Love makes you do crazy things. You spend money --LOTS of money-- buying bus and train tickets to see your beloved in another city. Then you spend more money --again, quite a lot of it-- to switch those tickets by 2 hours here and 4 hours there, forsaking sleep --which you love dearly, by the way-- just to spend a few more precious moments with your beloved.

Yes, I'm talking about myself. Anyway...

Love makes you do crazy things. You give up all of your freedom to a tiny, feral human being who is totally dependent on you and not the slightest bit grateful for what you've given up on their behalf. In fact, they don't even recognize that you're a separate person for months and months after their birth. Unavoidably parasitic, they take away time, money, and sleep. They strain your relationship with your spouse, and your relationship with yourself as you adjust to the reality of being simply a giant milk dispenser... bather and cleaner of poop for this tiny being, who may or may not grow up to blame all of their personal failings on you.

Love makes us do crazy things. We stay up late, listening to the same friend tell the same tale of woe, crying again and again over this pattern in their life, yet continuing to blithely ignore our reasoned, caring advice about how to avoid repeating their mistakes. We let them ruin evenings and days, and yet we are still there for them, willing and ready to listen, to comfort... again.

Love IS crazy. Clinically so. The chemical cocktail that is released in our brains when we fall in love is roughly equal to a cocaine high. Similar chemical processes occur in the sexual act, in breast feeding, and, of course, in that mother lode of chemical roller coaster rides, pregnancy, where women are subjected to the humiliation of having their normal emotional responses to life events distorted as the whole world becomes a funhouse mirror.

God is love.
God is love.
God is love.

Is God crazy?

I know that question doesn't make literal sense, but there is no denying that Christians worship a God who is crazy in love... in love to the point that He subjected Himself to the constraints of a body, with all of the chemical/biological wackiness that this entails. God went through puberty. God cried. God stubbed His toe and was made fun of and was hungry and thirsty and really tired sometimes.

And why? Because He had to get as close as He could to us in order to save us. And He did. He wanted to do that, to get as close as skin, as flesh, to His Beloved Ones, to show them how to live and how to love one another. And then He let us murder Him.

That, folks, is CRAZY. It makes no sense. Why didn't He just start over? Send another flood? Ctrl+alt+delete? Why go to such lengths to save us ungrateful sods?

I don't know, but I'm SO grateful.

There are a lot of explanations for why we baptize. I grew up in a tradition that said baptism was a sign of the Covenant between God and man that superceded the rite of circumcision. And, while no one's feelings should be hurt by no longer needing to circumcise your male children to show one's commitment to God, I believe this explanation takes away from the fact that baptism is, at its source, an act of gratitude.

We are saying, in effect, that we accept Your love... Your crazy, unconditional, no-holds-barred love that led You to take on flesh and die. We accept the gift of community that You directed us to, that You modeled in Your life on earth. We accept all of this, and we commit our children to this protecting, immense, boundless, crazy love, too. We pour water on them... water which cleanses, water which gives life, water which leaves no pore or crack untouched, but settles in and surrounds whatever it touches... because water symbolizes those aspects of Your love.

We also commit to try to be Your kind of crazy to our children... to love them as well and as totally as we can, given the limits our human capacity to love.

Love made, and makes, God do crazy things. Praise God from whom this love, and our baptism, and ALL our blessings flow.


pamela said...

Thanks, Amy. Wish I could have been there this weekend, and this makes me feel closer. That, and you amaze me. Thanks for making me think tonight.

Rachel said...

Amen sister. Amen.
I believe I will be resting, thinking about baptism as gratitude. More to ponder, thank you dear one.

KParis said...

Beautiful. Thanks so much for this.