I was playing the guitar with a band during a worship service. I had a cold.
My nose started to run. I tried to sniff it up. It worked for a very short while, and then it got worse.
I was still playing the guitar. By now my nose was not only running, but it seemed to be dripping. It wasn’t snot sprinkles, but a regular snot river that had reached the hand that was strumming the guitar.
It was really, really, gross.
I quickly reached my hand towards my nose, wiped fully across my sleeve, and then continued playing the guitar. Most everyone in the congregation hadn’t noticed. I had a gooey sleeve, but otherwise things were going along fine. I kept playing guitar without further snottiness.
Sometimes it’s important to be flexible.
When John baptized Jesus, John had to be flexible. He didn’t think that things were going according to the plan, but Jesus told him to just go with it. (OK – he said some lofty things that ultimately communicated to John – “just do it.”) You can find the short conversation in Matthew 3:13-17.
The flexibility Jesus and John showed at Jesus’ baptism is present throughout Jesus’ ministry. Instead of following the rules to the letter, he chose to do good rather than harm – even when it pushed against and even obliterated the rules.
The early church got that flexibility, too. In the Didache, a church manual used by early followers of Jesus; you can find this statement.
“In regard to Baptism - baptize thus: After the foregoing instructions baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. If you have no living water, then baptize in other water; and if you are not able in cold, then in warm. If you have neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
When did we lose the ability to be flexible?