- Books, Literature, and Writing»
- Commercial & Creative Writing»
- Creative Writing»
- Humor Writing
A Funny Baptismal Experience
I friend of mine sent me this....and i loved it and wanted to share...I asked him and he said it was okay to publish it.... I hope it is enjoyed as I enjoyed it
Being the son of a lay minister in Chicago meant not always knowing where our family would attend church services as there was always a new congregation popping up somewhere, and my father rarely passed on an opportunity to speak to a group of strangers. He said it was an opportunity to make new friends as well as preach the gospel, but we boys knew his secret. As a traveling minister, he didn't have to write a new sermon every week, open his handwritten sermon book to Noah and the Ark or Daniel in the Lion's Den, and let it rip. Of course, while the audience always appreciated his talks, my brother, David, and I knew them by heart. This created a recurring condition that I still experience decades later--the bad habit of falling asleep during any sermon. Thus is came to pass that one night in a small church on the South Side of Chicago, my father was speaking on John the Baptist, a timely topic given that ten of the new African American church members were to be baptized. And since my father would be doing the honors, dipping the new faithful into a deep font in between the podium and the pews, he was particularly energized, looking forward to a highly spiritual evening.
It was a snowy night, and traversing the streets on the South Side of Chicago was a slippery affair, though we managed to pick up our Uncle Merrion, who would assist in the service. Two brothers in the front seat, two from the next generation in the back. When we arrived at the church, my father turned with his arm on the seat back and warned, "No shenanigans." We solemnly promised, though had to stifle grins when our uncle winked. Larger grins were more difficult to stifle when we entered the church and saw the ten soon-to-be members sitting in the front row wearing white robes. One of the women had to weigh at least 350 pounds (not even soaking wet yet), and seeing my father's face grow pale gave me the chills. But first there was the sermon. Watching Dad stutter occasionally every time he saw the woman's shining face staring up at him staved off somnolence for the first half of the sermon, (as well as sitting on uncomfortable folding chairs behind the pews), but the inevitable case of the nods beckoned. Now David and I had heard John the Baptist a numerous times, so when we fell asleep with our heads bent towards each other in temporary Siamese slumber, we were pretty secure in knowing when the end of the sermon approached and would be upright by the final paragraph. Except Dad, perhaps from nervous anticipation, skipped a couple pages and ended early. When we heard the first chords of the organ, we fell and toppled to the ground. The sound of metal folding chairs against the tile floors filled the sanctuary and I could see my father's face glowing red in the lamp on the podium. Luckily, the baptisms were to begin right after the hymn and there was hope that the impending spirituality would invoke a semblance of forgiveness. Our shame didn't overpower us to the extent we hadn't noticed the large woman had been put to the end of the line. Apparently my father figured if they were going to drown, at least nine others would have been baptized first. He stepped into the water, prayed and dipped each one in turn. They stepped out of the font onto one of those jute welcome mats, dripping and smiling. My uncle stood in the lighted podium, congratulating each as they emerged. Then it came for the large woman. My father glanced heavenward for strength and she nimbly stepped down toward him in the water. And then he bowed his head, put her hand over her nose, and dipped her. She popped back up, either naturally buoyant or my father's prayer was answered. But as she stepped onto the welcome mat, she let out a shrill call, raising her arms to the ceiling and wailing a song of joy that filled the sanctuary. It seemed to go on for a minute or two until she stepped toward my uncle who tried to shake her hand, but she engulfed him instead in a wet embrace. The congregation burst into applause, and my father, so overjoyed he had completed his mission with no fatalities, literally jumped out of the font, missing the mat altogether. David and I waited sheepishly in the back while the congregation filed out, a happy lot, filled with love and seeming new hope for the future of their new church. Then I noticed my father and uncle on their hands and knees at the exit to the font and I moved closer. My uncle was holding up the cord that went from a hidden plug, under the mat, and up to the light on the podium. "I'll be danged," he murmured. "It's frayed." "Shh," my father warned, motioning toward my approach. My uncle winked and I started laughing. My father tried to frown, but when Uncle Merrion and Brother David joined in, he fell victim too. "Don't ever tell anyone," Dad said as we drove home. "She would be terribly embarrassed if she ever found out it wasn't God she was feeling." "I promise," David and I said simultaneously, though could stop myself from adding, "Cross my heart and hope to fry."