"Get the word out. Teach all these things. .. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity....
Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them."
I Tim 4:11-15 (MSG)
I've been up to my eyeballs in Immerse.
Immerse Austin, the women's event we held Friday night.
And immerse the word, looking at the various meanings and connotations and uses of that word.
Immerse means a lot of things~~'to plunge into', 'to involve deeply', 'to baptize', 'to embed'.
And I think beyond the dictionary definitions lies something so important.
We seem to have become a culture of half-commitment, a generation of toe dippers. We make sure that contracts have optional outs. We look for loopholes, chinks in the armor, soft spots that allow us to wriggle through.
We're toe dippers, testing the waters against our preferences and schedules and whims.
And it plays that way in our spiritual lives. We want a sprinkle of the Spirit, but nothing too radical, nothing that would require constancy and discipline. We desire instant mashed potato flake miracles, a splash of water whipped into the froth of our lives, a softened starch, fluffy mounds of feelings making for the contours.
But to be immersed, well, that's something altogether different.
When I was a kid, we would spend a week each summer camping in Yosemite. We would pitch our Coleman harvest gold color five person tent by the Merced River, inhaling the scent of pine and campfire. We would spend the days hiking and exploring, riding bikes and visiting with other families from our community who would camp the same week.
There was a certain rite of passage in those Yosemite days.
Spanning the Merced River was a bridge, constructed of stone and steel. In retrospect, it probably wasn't all that high. But it certainly seemed so when seen through my eleven year old eyes.
I wanted to claim a jump from that bridge, join the club of those who had gone before. In previous years, my dad would check the water levels of the river in comparison with the height of the bridge, making his calculations of safety and ratio. And this year, he determined the ratios were correct for a safe jump. And so I readied myself.
Peering over the edge of that bridge, looking into the frigid green waters below, I was so scared, so uncertain. The pressure was there, other friends making ready for the jump, other campers cheering them on. I didn't want to disappoint my dad. I didn't want to jump. I did want to jump. No and yes, yes and no.
And then I did. Jump.
And encountered that surreal place of no turning back.
My feet hit the icy water first, the propulsion of gravity forcing the rest of my body to follow. The waters of the river quickly covered my head, exhilarating, freezing. Immersing. Soaking.
I emerged from the waters dripping, shaking, triumphant.
And left puddles of joy and courage in my wake.
What if I would jump off the bridge of faith into the Mercy River the same way? What if I would lay aside opinion and doubt and preference and conjecture and just leap already? What if I stopped testing the waters and plunged?
To be immersed is to be fully committed. To be immersed is to be soaked. To be immersed means you'll leave puddles of those mercy waters in your path, making a mess of grace everywhere you stand.
What if? Be ye immersed.