We got married on August 30, 2014 in a park in Duluth, Minnesota. The sun came out just in time for the service. A butterfly joined us on the altar. A flock of seagulls flew over our heads. We had a mixed gender wedding party, a blessing with Lake Superior water was given by our mothers, friends read from Job and Matthew, John O’Donohue and Rumi, and we printed a special acknowledgment in the program to the indigenous people of the area in regards to use of the Lake Superior Watershed, their home.
Two days later, I gratefully traded gown for canoe paddle and plunged my uncharacteristically golden toenails into the muck of the Boundary Waters, further baptizing myself into my new home and new chapter. We had decided to take a period of time to slow to the world, ground into our new calling in relationship, and explore who we wanted to be in the world, individually and together. It felt like an ideal time to let the ground lay fallow, and re-evaluate as we started a new stage.
“Evolution” by Holly Norton, Mellow Jelly Art.
This is a post by Lydia Wylie-Kellermann: a mother, writer, and activist in Detroit, MI. She works for Word and World: A People’s School currently organizing a Land and Water School happening in Detroit this summer.
My mom loved baptism. She had a fierce desire for theology and liturgy that was infectious. But when I was born that commitment was tested. She looked at this beautiful, fragile human being in her arms and realized the dangers she would place me in by baptizing me. Baptism was not as simple as entering a community or knowing the love of God, but about putting me on the road to the cross.
And then came the question of baptism. Water, words, community. Offering our child back to God. We would stand with Abraham at the sacrifice. We would give her to a God who models the cross. We would invite her to listen for a voice calling in the night, to vigil, to put herself at risk, to leave family and friends, to speak clearly a truth for which one can be executed. We would thereby invite her into the risks we have already elected and, by God’s grace, still will elect to take with our own lives. In the act of baptism we would wash away the possibility that our concern for her might justify a diminishing of our own obedience to our Lord’s perverse ethic of vulnerability and gain through loss. –Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann, On the Edge 1986
I have clung to her writing on baptism. In the moments when I have felt scared and my knees shake, these words keep me steady.