“Now, Jan, I have something to tell you; but it’s a complete change of subject. Okay? I am going to join a church!”
“I’ve been attending a Bible study taught by a pastor’s wife. She said it would be good for my spiritual growth if I started going to the church on the hill. She said that since I confessed my sin, want to follow and obey God, it’s the next step.”
“That’s great,” Jan’s words lacked conviction. There was a moment of silence between the teens.
“Lucy, are you sure this is something you want to do? Doesn’t that involve being baptized?”
“Well, yes; but I’m ready. I want to obey God.”
“Didn’t you say your twin sister drowned in a bathtub, and you almost did also?”
Lucy’s head dropped. “Well, yes; but don’t you get sprinkled when you are baptized?”
“Some churches - yes; but Lucy, the last I knew that church on the hill was Baptist. Baptists put people under the water - as in a huge trough.”
Lucy set down her glass of Coke and stared. Then she got up and walked out of Jan’s house.
“Lucy, you forgot your purse.” Jan yelled, racing after her. Lucy reached out, took the purse and continued walking home.
She had gotten over the death of her sister so long ago, the many years of her mother’s grieving, then losing her parents in the accident. Finally life was becoming good. Now this.
In order to follow through, she had to go into the water. No, she could never do it. But she had to!
The pastor would be there. She wouldn’t be alone as she and her sister had been when their mother left to answer the phone.
In fact, the whole congregation would be there.
Lucy shivered in spite of the warm temperatures. Beautiful autumn colors were displayed overhead and in faded colors beneath her feet, but Lucy didn’t notice.
What should she do? Forget the whole thing?
Maybe joining a church wasn’t for her.
No, that wasn’t true.
“I’m going to do this. Just a few minutes of terror and then my life can go on!”
Lucy had made some good friends. She didn’t want to let them down, and she didn’t want to let God down.
Besides, this was Saturday; by 12:30 tomorrow, it would all be over.
Maybe it would all be over.
That’s what happened to her sister.
Lucy skipped the simple meal her grandma had waiting for her.
Instead, she curled up in a ball on her bed and pondered and prayed - moving from one position to another both on her bed and in her decision to get baptized.
When morning came, Lucy dressed and forced herself to go to church. She knew she should have told her grandma what was going to happen that day. Her grandma didn’t get out much any more, but she would have made sure she went to church that day.
Lucy didn’t tell her. Lucy still wanted to be able to back out – just in case.
She didn’t hear a word of the sermon. She only moved her lips during the hymns.
Finally it was time.
The pastor stood before the people and said, “I’m happy that today we can welcome Lucy into our congregation. Lucy, would you come up here?”
Lucy stood and slowly moved forward. Her heart throbbed. Tears blurred her eyes. Her skin was pale and clammy. Her trembling was visible.
“We don’t usually have anyone this noticeably moved at baptism,” the pastor smiled. “Here, Lucy, hold this bowl.”
“Where’s the water?” Lucy whispered.
“I have the water,” Pastor Stern whispered back. “We’re Mennonites. We use a pitcher. The Baptists, who used to own this building, built a church across town.”
Their whispers were picked up by the mike. Members of the congregation chuckled and smiled encouragingly or said “Amen.”
The pastor read Scripture and poured water over Lucy’s bowed head. The water ran off her head and into the bowl. Lucy’s legs gave way, and the bowl of water tilted forward soaking the front of Lucy’s dress as she fainted, collapsing on the carpet.
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