Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christian Baptism (10/18/07)
TITLE: My Identification
By Joy Bach
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The scene is still clear in my mind. Climbing down the hill from the road, the church people gathered there, and my sister playing the accordion. My dress was lavender with a purple band around the bottom of the skirt about three inches above the hem. With my head down, I stared at that purple stripe. I felt like I was being marched to my death.
As they sang “Shall We Gather at the River”, I was led into the murky waters. I have no idea what the pastor said before he placed his hand on my forehead and pushed me backwards into the water. I was terrified.
I lived. And it was another ritual I had endured to please my mother, my church and my God.
A marriage, three children and twelve moves later, we began attending a church by Lake Overholser near Oklahoma City.
One Sunday the pastor talked about being baptized. His description of baptism did not in any way match my experience. As I listened to him talk, I was fascinated to learn that this was a symbolic way to show the death of our old nature and a sign of our new birth in Christ. This action signified to others that we believed in Christ’s death and resurrection. Even more than that was the idea that being baptized told others we had a new identification ……we belonged to Christ.
I wanted to be baptized. But first I asked if it meant walking out into the lake. I still couldn’t swim.
It was a choice I made that day, to step down into the safe, warm waters of the baptistery. My children watched as I emerged from the waters, grinning from ear to ear. I knew what I was doing and I meant it from the bottom of my heart. I wanted others to know that I had identified with Christ.
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