Reading time: two minutes. I prefer “wellness” to “wholeness” although the terms are interchangeable and nearly synonymous. My internal lexicon hears “wholeness” as having it all together, whole, complete, perfect in every way. “Wellness” sounds to me more like Jesus saying to the woman healed in Luke 8, “Daughter, your faith has made you well!” Not perfect. Not Supergirl with no weaknesses, but touched, blessed, restored to full function: made well. Francis Schaeffer called this “substantial healing” by the power of the gospel. Let’s walk through the Lutheran Wellness Wheel for the next few weeks, looking at substantial healing by the touch of the gospel. Not perfection, but wellness. Today: Baptismal! Baptism is perfect. When Luther explains, “It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe, as the words and promises of God declare” he stating the complete and finished work of redemption by grace. Done, perfect, whole and complete. The problem is not with God’s gift of baptismal grace, but with my frail and faltering enjoyment of His good gift. Sometimes I forget. I act and think like I’m not a child of the Father, like I’m not a Spirit-filled follower of Jesus. The joy of baptismal grace, however, is the invitation to pause, to remember, to put off the old, to be renewed and to put on the new and begin again. I’m not whole, but faith in Jesus has made me well. I thank God. I rejoice in His mercy. I return to my journey of faith refreshed and renewed. I notice there’s a meeting of the finance committee the day after tomorrow and based on the last 17 meetings, I expect it won’t go very well. I’m not a perfect member of the committee and the committee doesn’t function perfectly, but with the assurance of God’s grace with me, (and with all of us on the committee) I prepare, I attend, I do the best I can, we all do the best we can, and we seek God’s grace to move forward with our decisions and commit to meeting again next month. That’s substantial baptismal healing and wellness. I had my knee cleaned out a week ago. The recovery is going well. Six weeks from now I won’t be perfect; I’ll have a pair of 64 year old knees, but a pair of knees that have known substantial healing from a rather painful six months of limping around. I pray that the baptismal grace of God will give you, day by day, a powerful sense of wellness. Thanks for reading. Are you interested in helping bring a Grace Place Wellness Retreat to your region? We’d love to hear from you. Contact our President/CEO Randy Fauser today to begin exploring the possibilities. Let’s have a conversation about bringing our Church Worker Retreat to your area soon!