Grandfather and grandson sat beside each other and fished off the rickety old dock of the small lake. The sound of their voices drifted up the hill where Ruth stood and watched the morning sun rise in brilliant color. She smiled as she heard the little soprano voice of Payton compared to the bass voice of her husband. Without even being there she knew the rods were between their legs. Ralph would be drinking his thermos of coffee; Payton, his hot chocolate. Hats a little askew and jackets shrugged off long ago, the two were mirror images of each other, one a little old and the other a little young.
“Grandpa, do you love Jesus?”
“Of course I love Jesus. Why do you ask?”
Payton looked up at the sky. “I dunno. Just thinkin’.”
Grandpa’s rod wiggled a little and both got excited and jumped to their feet. “Don’t let ‘em get away. Betcha it’s a big one! Wait ‘til Grandma sees this!”
Grandpa pulled and tugged and held the rod high as he proudly displayed – a shoe. “Payton, how about let’s not tell grandma about this one?”
Payton settled back into his chair, his rod forgotten, as he scrunched his face up as if deep in thought and scratched an itchy spot on his nose. “Grandpa?”
“I wanna get baptized.”
Grandpa laid his rod down and threw the soppy old shoe off to the side. He looked at Payton, surprised and a little teary-eyed. “Buddy, you’re so young. What? Second grade now?”
“Been thinkin’ a long time.”
“We’ll have to talk to your mom and dad.”
“Grandpa, there’s sumpin’ else.”
Ralph wasn’t at all sure his heart could take another surprise. He wished Ruth would walk on down the hill and help him out of this. “What else, Payton?”
“I want you to do it.”
“Baptize me, Grandpa; in this lake like Jesus was baptized.”
This definitely was too much on the old ticker. He moved his chair closer to his grandson, wrapped his arm around his small shoulders and they sat: both quiet, both deep in thought.
“Welp, guess it’s time to talk to the family.”
Payton helped his grandpa out of the chair. They gathered their things, hid the shoe behind a rock, and trudged up the hill to where Ruth waited; breakfast smells in the air encouraged them along.
Payton was a determined little boy. Between the two of them presenting his case, it was finally agreed that he would get his wish. A couple of days later everyone was invited to the lake for a baptism.
Family and friends stood on the shore and watched as two generations made their way through the water. Payton stood proudly in a t-shirt and swimming trunks and all grew quiet when he began to speak.
“I asked Jesus in my heart. You might think I’m too young but Jesus told me I was just right. Grandpa said I have to say these words to you even though I already went through all this with Jesus, so here goes.”
The crowd laughed and scooted in closer so they could hear more clearly. Camcorders zoomed in and the click of cameras sounded.
Payton bowed his head and in a loud, clear voice he prayed. “Jesus, I b’lieve You are Christ, Son of God. Come into my heart and live there forever, ‘kay? Amen.” He raised his head and tugged on his grandpa’s shirt. He waited for as long as he could and now all patience drained from his body. “Grandpa, can you baptize me now?”
Again the crowd stirred, stifled giggles and wiped runny noses and tears from their eyes.
Ralph looked down at his small charge. “Payton, as your grandfather and your preacher, I baptize you in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” He then pushed his grandson backwards into the cool, murky water.
This act of obedience complete, Ralph picked up his grandson and lifted him out of the water into his arms. The slightly graying mop of curly hair touched the dark curly mop of drippy wetness, and both flashed the same funny lopsided grin. “I would like to introduce you all to the newest member of the family of God – Payton, my grandson.”
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