“Hey, man. I guess it’s okay. I’m up for it. Let’s do it.”
“I don’t know, Eric. I’m not sure it’s right without a preacher. Do you think we can get one to come down here this late?”
“Do they carry pagers, like doctors? Ya think they’re on-call for things like this, dude? Whatdaya think, Chris?”
“Let’s ask Adam. He’s been churched all his life. He oughta know somethin’. Aa—daaam. Aa-daaam.”
Adam’s nose peeked up over his computer screen across the room. “Whatdaya need?” Bloodshot hazel eyes drooped from his routine, late-night study regiment. Empty Diet Coke cans ringed the computer monitor. Picking up one, he leaned back sucking down the last remnants of the liquid caffeine.
“We’ve been talkin’ over here about baptism. Haven’t you been listenin’?”
“Uhhh . . .”
“Never mind. I should’ve known you had your face plastered to that monitor. Matt and I prayed with Eric tonight. He wants to get baptized . . . right now.”
“Here? Where? In our apartment? It’s the middle of the night.”
“Yeah. So? We thought maybe you could help since you’ve been in church all your life. Whatdaya think?”
A nervous laugh squeaked from behind the computer monitor. “That presents an interesting scenario. We can’t call a preacher in the middle of the night. Most people get baptized at church or down on some river bank with the whole congregation observing. Shouldn’t he wait until Sunday so we can talk to the pastor—you know get it scheduled or something?”
“Are you kiddin’, man? He’s excited now. We should do it now.”
“Yeah, how about in the bathtub?”
“Matt, that’s a great idea. Don’t ya think, Adam? We could all help him. I mean, we could pray over him, dunk him and all right here.”
Across the room, Adam’s bloodshot eyes widened. A dribble of Diet Coke bubbled out of the corner of his mouth. “I just don’t know, Chris.”
“Hey, don’t you remember that story about some jailer and his family who helped Paul and Silas? He got baptized right away during the middle of the night, didn’t he?”
Matt chimed in too. “I remember some Ethiopian dude who was baptized right away too after he proclaimed faith in Christ. Isn’t baptism just a symbol? An outward expression of a heartfelt promise? I don’t think we need a preacher to make it legitimate.”
“Yeah, it’s gonna be just God and Eric, tonight in the tub.”
Electricity pulsated through the tiny apartment living room. Matt, Chris and Eric were all flushed with an energy that Adam couldn’t quite grasp.
Adam gulped as he realized that his friends were looking to him for leadership. He was the oldest both physically and in Christ, but suddenly he didn’t feel so. He felt dull, and just a bit confused.
“I guess . . . I guess it’ll be okay.”
“What’s the matter with you, man? Eric needs our support. Let’s do it.”
Eric was grinnin’. Matt and Chris got up, moving towards the bathroom. Adam gulped again and reluctantly followed.
It wasn’t long before Eric had stripped to his boxers and Matt and Chris had filled the tub with warm water. Adam shifted uncomfortably, leaning against the door jam.
“Adam, get over here. We don’t know what to say? You need to help us.”
Adam’s heart pounded as he squeezed between his friends Chris and Matt. Eric was still grinning, calf-deep in bath water. It was a tight squeeze for four college guys and God in the bathroom that night.
Adam grabbed two sweaty palms at his side and asked his brothers to bow their heads. “Dear Lord, here we are, joined as brothers before you. We ask You to come into our presence as we rejoice in Eric’s decision to live for You. Help us know what to do to baptize him into Your kingdom. Amen.”
“Okay, let’s do this. Eric, you’d better sit down first.” Adam knelt down next to the tub, his heart still pounding. Chris and Matt followed.
Adam grabbed Eric’s hands just like he’d seen his pastor do hundreds of times. “We baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Eric took a backward dive into the rushing water of the faucet. “Our brother, Eric, loves you Lord and asks You to forgive his sins and make him a new creature. Bless him from this day forward, renew him, and give him Your grace. Amen.”
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