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From Intern Quentin . . .

Grace and Peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ

Water is an important symbol found in pop culture to express themes of cleansing, change, death, and redemption. In the Christian faith, water symbolizes all of these things in the act of baptism. That through these waters, our sins are washed away, that we are changed and transformed, that the old self is put to death, that God redeems us. In the popular Star Wars show, The Mandalorian, water symbolizes these themes for Din Djarin (Jar-in), the Mandalorian, as he goes on a quest seeking to redeem himself in the eyes of his tribe. 

In the show, Din Djarin belongs to a zealous tribe of Mandalorian warriors that practice a literal following of their creed, which is a collection of rules one follows to be a true Mandalorian. One of these rules is that a Mandalorian cannot take off their helmet in the presence of others, which Din does twice throughout the series. Because Din broke the creed, he can only be welcomed back into his tribe if he takes the creed again while submerged in the Living Waters beneath Mandalore, a special water reservoir deep beneath the planet’s surface. This begins Din’s quest to find the Living Waters to be redeemed in the eyes of his tribe. 

While on this quest for redemption, one of the people that Din seeks help from in finding the Living Waters, Bo Katan, is a Mandalorian that doesn’t follow the zealous practices of Din’s tribe. During their journey on the war-torn planet’s surface and caverns beneath the surface, Bo taunts Din about the pointlessness of seeking this redemption and how the Living Waters aren’t some magic potion that absolve him of his actions. But Din and Bo find the Living Waters and Din takes the creed again while submerging himself. Just as promised to him by his tribe, Din’s actions are absolved, and Din returns to his tribe as a true Mandalorian. 

But to Bo’s taunting, are the Living Waters magical? They seem to have magically absolved Din of his actions of walking away from the creed. Are the Living Waters more of a symbolic act of loyalty and devotion to the creed and his tribe? While these may be silly questions on how a fictional, ritual act works, these questions about the power of water in Christian baptism were raised during the Reformation. The reformers debated over understanding how and what the waters of our baptism do. With the major discussion being whether the waters of our baptism are magical or if something more is going on this act of redemption. 

For Martin Luther and the reformers, they agreed that it isn’t magic nor special water that is used in our baptism that brings us this redemption. But it is plain, regular water used in connection with the Word spoken during our baptism. Thus, Luther said that we should never separate the water from the Word. In our baptismal liturgy, we confess the Apostles’ Creed that God creates us, Jesus redeems us, and the Holy Spirit sets us apart and then we are baptized with the water and the Word “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” In The Mandalorian, while the Living Waters are special in this case, they are not magic water but water working in connection with the words of Din’s creed. We see when Din baptizes himself that he confesses the words of his Mandalorian creed which redeems him: “I swear on my name, the names of the ancestors, that I shall walk the ways of the Mandalore, and the words of the creed shall be forever forged in my heart.” That through the water with the word, Din is made a true Mandalorian as he promises loyalty and devotion to follow his tribe’s creed. 

For us today, in the water with the Word, God promises loyalty and devotion to us by freely giving to us the cleansing, change, death, and redemption in baptism. That through these waters, God promises in the Word to give to us freely the Holy Spirit, the forgiveness of sins, resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. The waters of our baptism aren’t magical nor are they a symbolic gesture of how we should live our lives. Instead, it is a mysterious thing that God does to bring about love and grace in our lives today. It is such a mysterious and powerful thing that God does that Luther encouraged that we should never forget that we are baptized. In doing so, Luther believed that it encourages us and invites to share this same love and grace that God gives to us freely with the world around us. So let us remember our baptism today in all that we do. 

Peace and Blessings, Fraternally Quentin Surace