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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christian Baptism (10/18/07)

TITLE: Rise
By JoAnne Potter
10/23/07


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RISE AND BE BAPTISED AND WASH AWAY YOUR SINS, CALLING ON HIS NAME. Acts 22:16

Broken reeds and riverbank stones scrape the bottoms of my feet as I watch the familiar, slow Jordan slide by. So many cool mornings, I have come here to bathe, but not this time. Though John is long gone, I come here today to be baptized. I am like a sheep or bull brought to the temple, split wide open, in need of washing from the inside out. Even now, I feel like the sacrifice, a sin offering, and that the priest holds my very heart in his hand.

“Come,” he says. “Be clean.”

I step into the running water. “Wash away not dirt, Oh Lord, but iniquity. Cleanse my heart of guilt and my hands in innocence. Make me new.”

I walk all the way in and lay my head beneath gentle waves.

WE WERE THEREFORE BURIED IN HIM THROUGH BAPTISM INTO DEATH. Rom 6:3

Underneath, the water closes over me in darkness. Even with eyes open, I see only dim, swirling silt. No kind sun shares its warmth. No friendly breeze brushes hair against my cheek. I am alone, falling into the Styx. My heartbeat slows. I don’t dare breathe, but sink deeper. The black undertow pulls me further down. I am caught. My sin has killed me. Bit by bit, invisible, lost, I drift downstream.

“Oh Lord, though I die, even now you are here. My life belongs to you. Your will be done.”

“Come to me,” you say.

My eyes close and I let go.

…BURIED WITH HIM IN BAPTISM AND RAISED WITH HIM THROUGH YOUR FAITH IN THE POWER OF GOD, WHO RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD. Col 2:12

Somewhere at the end of the deep, my fall stops. I come to rest, settling on a silent breath. Too soft for hands, too warm for wings, it wraps me half around and bears me up. Strength and buoyancy return and as I rise, bright heat warms bones, then flesh, then pale water. When I break the river’s surface, now silver in a broad glow, clean sheets of water stream away. Each falling rivulet carries ancient burdens of sin and guilt.

No quakes split the earth, no curtains tear, no stone rolls away, but still I rise, new and alive. I am Isaac released from the altar, Rahab escaped from Jericho, Moses snatched up from the basket. My grave yawned and took me in, but you did not abandon me. You rebuilt the temple. You birthed hope.

“You, Oh Lord, are the Resurrection and the Life.”

Through the reeds, a new path winds into view. As I glide toward the bank to meet it, the river releases me.

AWAKE, O SLEEPER, RISE FROM THE DEAD, AND CHRIST WILL SHINE ON YOU. Eph 5:14.

I stand, step lightly into the sunshine, and walk.


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This article has been read 424 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 10/25/07
Are you sure you didn't mean to enter this in Masters? This is just amazing in its description, language, EVERYTHING. I gasped several times. I hope this does well - and even if it doesn't, KEEP WRITING THIS WAY.
Jan Ackerson 10/25/07
Breathtaking!
Debbie Wistrom10/25/07
Your descriptions are incredible. I felt at peace while reading this at my lunch break. Can't wait to see the results!!
Seema Bagai 10/27/07
This is beautiful. Incredible writing and vivid, almost poetic, descriptions.

The verses being in all caps seemed distracting to me the first time I read it through. Maybe consider using italics. Just a small suggestion.
Peter Stone10/28/07
Absolutely wonderful article. Well done.
c clemons10/29/07
Finally I now know the scripture that some use to say baptism washes away sin. We know it is not in the water but in the calling (belief in) on his name that makes the difference. Thank you for showing in your entry it was the MC's faith and belief that changed him.
LauraLee Shaw10/29/07
This moved me. What a beautifully written testimony.
Joanne Sher 11/02/07
Congratulations, JoAnne. Your entry placed sixth in Level 2. The Top 15 in each Level and the Top 40 Overall Lists are posted each week in the Weekly Results and Highest Rankings Forum of the Faithwriters Message Boards.