Blond ringlets of hair seemed to breathe in the sun's rays as the small figure approached the lakefront property. Clutched in his tiny hands was the reason for today's adventure. The anticipated excitement over sailing his toy boat was not thwarted when the sheer coldness of the water ran over his chubby toes and caused him to shriek and hold his breath.
Red and orange foliage floated past his ankles on the crisp fall day as he wandered along the water's edge seeking the perfect spot for release. As each leaf passed by, little Samuel voiced a blessing, "Bon Voyage, little leaf! Have a safe trip!"
He smiled to himself as he noticed how his choices of paint, a brilliant burgundy hue with golden rims, sparkled under the sun's attention, and he was glad he had chosen these colors. His eyes were drawn to the mast, and he remembered his father's hands as they had attached the embroidered canvas mast to the miniaturized jackstay. Noticing his dad's handiwork, he was reminded to look downstream and follow the current's flow to where his father would await the safe arrival of their treasured investment.
Shielding his eyes from the glaring rays, he spotted his father's dwarfed appearance against a backdrop of colossal Frazier firs. The arms of his father were waving wildly as he attempted to capture little Sam's view, and always eager to please his dad, Samuel waved back in the same manner.
He could barely hear his father's voice as it echoed over the water's surface. The words wafted through the air and seemed to say, "Go ahead, Son-n-n-n...Put it in!"
Not quite ready to release his prized possession, Samuel decided to pray for its safety. With his tender young voice raised to the heavens, he asked God to deliver his boat into the arms of his dad.
"Please don't let it drown, Lord. I need it back to put on my shelf so I can always remember this day with my dad. Amen."
He opened his eyes as he felt someone tousle his hair. Looking around, he realized he was alone. There was no one there with him...only the wind. Little Samuel smiled.
"Thank you, Jesus for that pat on the head. I know everything will be okay now."
Situating himself upon a rock, he decided he had found the best location for the toy boat's departure. He placed a kiss upon its mast and prepared to release it into the dark waters, but was stopped abruptly as he caught site of a distraction in the corner of his eye.
A group of people had gathered a few feet away. Men, women, and children dressed in robes of white had joined hands forming a circle around another individual. They raised their voices in harmony as they sung a song familiar to Samuel's ears, and he couldn't help but hum along with them.
"Shall we gather at the river...
The beautiful, the beautiful river...
Shall we gather at the river...
That flows from the throne of God."
An older man began to immerse each person into the dark waters as the others raised their hands in jubilation. Little Samuel watched with immense consideration as he realized the baptismal significance unfolding before him. Amongst the shouts of "hallelujah" and "praise the Lord," little Samuel decided to vocalize his shouts of celebration. As each remaining person was submersed, he cried out,
"Bon voyage sin!"
"Never more to be remembered sin."
His young mind had comprehended the symbolism of baptism...dying to the old life and being raised in newness of life. Once one accepted Jesus, then the sin went on a forgiveness trip, nevermore to be remembered.
Another shout from his dad seized his focus, and he placed his boat into the dark waters, releasing it into his Father's care.
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