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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christian Baptism (10/18/07)

TITLE: The Baptismal Certificate
By Dixie Phillips
10/25/07


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Maggie Meadows’ gnarled fingers gently floated across a weathered piece of paper.

“What is that, Grandma?” Pam asked.

“Oh, I was rummaging through the cedar chest in my bedroom and stumbled upon my baptismal certificate. Pastor Johnson gave all of us baptismal candidates this signed document after we were baptized. He said it would serve as a reminder of the most important decision we’d ever make in our lifetime.” Maggie chuckled. “I was proud as punch to receive this little piece of paper. Mama put it in a picture frame and hung it on our living room wall.”

“It looks really old. Is there a date on it anywhere?” Pam quizzed.

“I can’t read the date on here anymore, but I don’t need to. It’s chiseled on my heart – April 16th, 1932.” Maggie’s dark eyes snapped. “I was just ten, but I remember my believer’s baptism like it was yesterday. I even remember the old hymn we sang at the end of the service.”

Maggie cleared her throat, hummed a note and then began to sing softly.


“Peace, peace wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above.
Sweep over my spirit forever I pray
In fathomless billows of love.”



Pam’s eyes glistened with tears as she listened to her grandmother.

“You know, Pam, I’ve got more days behind me than I do ahead of me.”

Pam reached for her grandmother’s twisted fingers. “I know, Grandma.”

“Well, I was just thinking about how I want my posterity to know what Jesus did for our family. We were saved from the back alleys of Hell.” Maggie continued, “And I never want you or your children’s children to forget that.”

Pam squeezed Maggie’s hand. “That reminds me of what pastor’s message was on Sunday. He was talking about passing the faith along to our children. He said that we, as parents, have to be very careful in keeping a godly standard in the home. He had this amazing quote, and it has been playing over and over in my mind all week. It went something like this - One generations’ compromise becomes the next generation’s standard.”

Maggie nodded her head. “Oh, Pam, now that is some good preaching. You know what I think we should do?”

“What’s that, Grandma?”

“Well, I want you to go in my hall closet. On the top shelf, there’s a picture frame I’m not using anymore. I need you to bring it to me.” Maggie ordered.

Pam opened the closet door. Picking up a simple gold frame, she returned to her grandmother. “Is this the frame you want?” Pam asked.

“Yep, that’s it.” Maggie replied, as she tucked the treasured baptismal certificate in the frame.” After she finished, she handed it to Pam.

“Oh, Grandma, I can’t take this from you.”

Maggie beamed. “Nonsense, this is part of your inheritance. I want you to place this picture on the wall where all your family can see it. Tell your children about what their family has been saved from.”

Pam gazed at the frame. “Thank you, Grandma. This will be my most prized possession.”

“Well, it’s just a piece of paper, but it does represent the day I made a public profession of faith to follow my most prized Possession.”

***

Pam cradled her four-year-old grandson in her arms. “Ben, it’s time for you to settle down and get ready for bed. Now what story would you want Grammy to tell you tonight?”

Ben pointed to the antique picture frame hanging on the wall. “Tell me “our” story, Grammy. Tell me ‘bout the special paper in the frame.”

Pam planted a kiss on the little tyke’s head. “Well, when I was a little girl, I had a grandmother named Maggie. I loved her with all my heart.”

Ben grinned and gushed, “Just like I love you, Grammy.”

“Yes, just like you love me.” Pam agreed. “And Grandma Maggie gave me that special paper and told me to hang it on my wall and tell my children and my children’s children about the day our family was changed forever when Jesus passed by.”

Ben rubbed his eyes and yawned. “Sing me my favorite lullaby, Grammy.”

Pam held her grandson close and sang.

“Peace, peace wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above.
Sweep over my spirit forever I pray
In fathomless billows of love.”



“Ben, when you grow up, you can tell your children about Grandma Maggie.”

“I will, Grammy. I’ll tell them ‘bout the special paper, too.”


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This article has been read 891 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Terry R A Eissfeldt 10/26/07
Lovely.
Lynda Schultz 10/26/07
I have on my wall above my bookshelf my Cradle Roll Certificate, a Sunday School teacher training certificate of my mother's, and a Certificate she earned in 1923 when she went through what was then a catechism class in the Evangelical United Brethern Church. Their presence reminds me of my heritage. I love your take on the theme and the message it holds. Good work.
Joanne Sher 10/27/07
Delightful and warm and tender. This blessed me!
Laury Hubrich 10/27/07
Very nice story.
Laury
Phyllis Inniss 10/30/07
A certain kind of peace runs through the telling of this precious story. Pam has passed on the standard of her grandmother to her grandson and we expect that he would do the same at the appointed time.
Gregory Kane10/30/07
Heart-warming. And a very different take on the topic. I think this is the first story I have read that doesn’t actually describe the process of baptism.
LauraLee Shaw10/30/07
What a precious and tender story. It made my eyes watery and my heart soft. Thank you so much for reminding us of the legacy we have in Christ.
Jennie Atkins10/30/07
Absolutely delightful! You described God's heritage passed down through generations in such a beautiful way.
Jan Ackerson 10/30/07
Oh, I love that hymn, and it's not often sung any more.

Take a look at the 2nd sentence of the 3rd paragraph--is some punctuation needed there?

Lovely story!

Beckie Stewart10/30/07
What an absolutely delightful story! I loved it.
christine newman11/08/07
Dixie, I really enjoy the direction you took w/this... so personable...and inspiring for us and our future generations.