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You moved into the blue as we watched, shorebound.
Speaking words of meaning, the pastor dipped you back.
Engulfed for a moment, then with a rush you rose.
Streams ran off your hair, shoulders straightened,
a tense gasp for air gave way to allayed smile.

We cheered together from dry land –
for the water, for the beauty,
for the profound grace
descending all around.

In eagerness you came ashore to share your joy and bask in ours.
Your wet embrace was cool, somehow sanctifying.

We wear our baptisms differently, imperfectly.
We dry off. We need reminders.
Of all the things that ought to cling
is the going down as old and the coming forth as new.

Yet we need embraces
to pass around the water,
reminding us we are
but partial people,
mended by mercy,
wetted together
in holy love.

Photo by kaleb tapp on Unsplash

Dave Warners

Beginning in 1997, Dave Warners has been teaching Botany and Ecology at Calvin University. Since 2009 he has directed Plaster Creek Stewards (PCS), a faith-based watershed initiative based at Calvin. Dave also teaches at Au Sable Institute in Northern Michigan and with the Creation Care Studies Program in New Zealand and Belize. In 2019 Dave and colleague Matthew Heun published Beyond Stewardship, an edited volume that explores new ways oft  understanding humanity’s place in creation. Dave and co-founder of PCS Gail Heffner will be publishing Ken-O-Sha: Working Towards Reconciliation in an American Watershed in early 2024 with Michigan State University Press. For fun Dave enjoys a variety of activities with his wife Teri, including bicycling, gardening, cooking, camping, and spending time with good friends.


  • Don Tamminga says:

    Hey Dave, good to see your contribution and hope you are doing well. Really enjoy reading the little resume about what you are doing and reminiscing to a much earlier time in our lives. T

  • Thomas B Hoeksema Sr says:

    Lovely, Dave; thank you. It’s the second poem by a scientist I’ve read in a week. I know some of the poetry in science itself,and I love that scientists are poets too.

  • June says:

    Mended by mercy, wetted together in holy love. Amen. Oh, and – don’t we wear our baptisms so differently?? Dare we not be an exclusive people.

  • Gloria McCanna says:

    So rich. So good.
    Thank you.

  • Pat says:

    Resonated deep within me, Dave. In some ways it is how I feel with the CRC. I am glad we are on this journey together.
    Such a beautiful poem.