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This week I have had the opportunity to do some interior painting — walls, not canvases. I really love to do interior painting — there is a sense of accomplishment about it.
But there is more to it than that. When I paint, I see freshness going onto the walls. All the scuffs disappear under the new layer of paint. All the nicks and scratches, those beat up parts of the wall that happen because of normal wear and tear — gone. All that is left is this great new color on a wall.
It reminds me, in some ways, of when you would draw a picture as a kid. You would start out with your fresh piece of paper and have the whole world ahead of you. But then, screeeeetchhh… a misplaced crayon mark here, the wrong color there. And the picture was “ruined.” Never to fear, there seemed to be an endless supply of fresh paper and so you would proclaim, “Teacher/Mom/Dad, I messed up. I need a new piece of paper!” And viola! new paper for you to set out on a new artistic adventure.
Sin boldly; but believe and rejoice in Christ more boldly still.Martin Luther
New paper, fresh paint — well… this makes me think of baptism! I know… a bit strange; but stay with me.
Martin Luther thought of baptism as something that we live into each and every day. He suggested that in the morning, as you are splashing water on your face, that you recall your baptism: “I am baptized!” He was convinced that this was the key to remembering that in God we get a fresh piece of paper each day. A new coat of paint. That the whole of life is about living — and living is about messing up. But baptism is about forgiveness of sins; not once, but over and over as we live into the people that God has in mind for us to be.
One of my favorite Luther quotes is the one in the quote box above. When he penned this, he was encouraging people to live life, to serve neighbor, and to love God with a reckless abandon. He was pretty convinced we weren’t going to get it right all the time; in fact, I think Luther thought we would get it wrong most of the time! But he didn’t want that fear of messing up hold us back from living, serving and loving. So, we get out there and mess things up with boldness — and then we rest in our baptism and that God has a paint brush close at hand for a fresh coat of paint on our well worn lives.