It was in September 2021.  I do not remember the exact date, but early in the month.  I walked into a dollar store looking for something else and happened to notice that they sold shampoo.  I had emptied the previous bottle a while ago and was getting tired of using up old motel bottles.  You see, with hair like mine, virtually any shampoo will do.

I didn’t find my usual cheap brand, but what caught my eye was a bottle of White Rain.  Up on top it said, “20% extra free.”  Instantly I knew that this was the bottle for me.  All this shampoo, and for only $1.00!  The deal was too good to pass up.

My shower the following morning started off with joy and satisfaction, but then tragedy struck.  Right after I poured a little shampoo into my hand and clipped the cap back in place, the bottle slipped out of my grip.  Down it fell, landing with its plastic cap hitting the tile floor.  The cap, though still usable, was separated from the bottle and severely cracked down the middle.  And I knew, with hair like mine, I was going to have to live with this damaged cap for a long, long time.

It is now December 2022 and I anticipate finishing off this bottle of White Rain today or tomorrow.  I have yet to buy its replacement, but have lined up a couple motel bottles, just in case.  I have been living with the consequences of my carelessness for nearly 14 months.  Let me tell you, I am ready for a new bottle with a brand-new cap.  I just hope that history does not repeat itself!

I have no interest whatsoever in struggling for another 14 months with another broken cap.  However, as you can probably tell by now, I am way too frugal to consider throwing away a bottle of perfectly good shampoo and spending $1.00 for its replacement.  Something needs to change – either I become more careful in the shower or abandon nearly 70 years of frugality.

Then I got to thinking, “What would Jesus do?”  The possibilities are nearly endless.  One might say, “He was perfect – he never would have dropped the shampoo in the first place.”  Or, perhaps, had he dropped it, he could have caused it to bounce right back up into his hand unscathed.  Another possibility would be that, upon discovering the broken cap, a simple rub of his finger would have the cap “healed” and better than new.  Perhaps, with hair like his, the shampoo would have been used up in a week and my “major issue” would have been “no big deal” to him.

To me those first thoughts are just as ridiculous as those fables of a teenage Jesus carving a wooden dove, tossing it into the air, and having it fly away as a lark.  His miracles were never to satisfy his own whims, or even needs.  They were always about advancing the Kingdom and meeting the needs of people.

Additionally, I don’t consider dropping a shampoo bottle a sin, so it certainly could have happened to Jesus.  However, it probably would not have bothered him like it does me.  “For we do not have a high priest (Jesus) who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4.15) And, as you can see, my reasoning has nothing to do with him – most likely – not having hair mine!  It is all about him being without sin, which, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with hairlines or hair colors.

That passage then goes on to say, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4.16) Are you with me in thinking that this has little if anything to do with miraculously “healing” a shampoo cap?  Rather, it has everything to do with the wondrous “shampoo” that is used in every baptism (yours and mine included).

My reason for purchasing shampoo (cheap though it may be) and then using motel leftovers when the bottle runs dry is because water alone on my hair (yes, even mine) would do no good.  It takes water and shampoo to make hair clean.  In the same way, “Baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water included in God’s command and connected to God’s word.” (Small Catechism) And the cleaning is far more than just a fresh feeling, for baptism “works forgiveness of sins, recues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.” (Small Catechism) For those words and promises, you might start with Mark 16.16, Titus 3.5-8, or Romans 6.4.

Thus, much more important for me than that day early in September 2021 is what happened on March 6, 1953.  Three splashes of water while a pastor was saying (or should I say shampooing?), “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirt” and a lifetime of sin was washed away.  In other words, even with hair like mine and hands struggling with shampoo bottles, I am made clean by Christ, “that I may be his own and live under him in his kingdom and serve him in everlasting righteousness innocence, and blessedness.” (Small Catechism) Therre is no tragedy here – just pure and everlasting blessing.