Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christian Baptism (10/18/07)
TITLE: A Day In June
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The mid-June sky was a brilliant blue, so blue it almost hurt to like at it. A few white wisps of cirrus clouds made their way across the vast blue expanse. They appeared to have been painted by a mighty hand with the finest camel hair brush. Puffy cumuli dotted the horizon adding their own special contrast. The temperature was perfect with only the slightest hint of summer humidity.
The weather forecasters said no rain and they were right on the money. Over the past thirty years it had never rained on this day and there was no reason to expect otherwise. It was as if God wanted to peer down from Heaven with nothing to hinder His view of the festivities.
A large crowd began to gather on the hill at the edge of the lake. Small canopies were erected to help ward off the sun. Blankets were spread out, some under shade trees and others out in the bright sunlight. Lawn chairs were strewn here and there, some occupied and others not. Open picnic baskets revealed a variety of delectable delights. Some of the hard-core enthusiasts stoked miniature barbecues. Burgers and hot dogs sat nearby ready to be grilled to perfection. It wasn't long before the entire lawn was covered with a patchwork of colorful quilts and blankets.
The atmosphere was electric. The crowd of nearly a thousand intensified the mood. The anticipation of what was about to occur was on the lips of everyone. Adults told stories of their memories from years past while children giggled and played nearby. Participants checked in with the event coordinators. Spectators strained their necks to catch a glimpse of a friend or loved one.
The church pastors made their way to designated areas in the refreshing water of lake. A few last minute instructions, a prayer, and the first group of inductees were called forward. The water slowly rose about them as they made their way to a waiting pastor. When they were waist deep they turned to face the throng of onlookers. No one said a word, even the children stood still. “In the name of the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit” and then down they went. A few seconds later they were lifted from the water to the cheers of those still on shore.
My daughter and I were next. My little girl, 12 years of age at the time, invited me to go into the water with her. I remember choking back tears as I told her an army of 10,000 could not keep me out of the water. Now the day had come and we were on shore about to take our turn.
The pastor asked us a few questions as we waited for everyone to take their places. “Dad, have you been baptized,” the minister asked. I could only nod my yes. Looking at my daughter during those moments caused by throat to slam shut with pride. “The honor is all yours Dad.” I was stunned to tears at the privilege of baptizing my daughter.
“Daddy, does God really love me this much?” At that very instant the words came over the loudspeakers interrupting my answer, “We baptize you in the name of the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit”.
Down she went. I watched the water wash over her young face now just a few inches under the surface. I lifted her out of the water and gave her a hug. With tear filled eyes and a grin that stretched from ear to ear I gave her my answered, “Yes, little girl, God loves you this much.”
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