Chapter 16 of ? (church)
I don’t know many folks, just the ones at school, church, and a few neighbors. The new neighborhood high school is beautiful and close to my house, but I do miss the very old junior high. Just one building of bricks and wood felt homey and secure. Our church building is growing too. I guess things change. I’m sitting in an old chair under the huge oak tree waiting for the clothes to dry on the lines in the sun. It’s pretty back here. The drain hose from the washing machine sticks out through a louvered window and soaks the back yard. The grass is thick and lush.
In my mind, I’m reliving my miracle day when I was eight years old.
It’s Sunday morning, I decide to really listen to every word the preacher says, especially since my dad thumped me on the head for looking around to see where the crying baby was. We lost a baby – it was the organ player’s little boy. They said it was a blue baby – didn’t look blue to me when I held it. I got to hold it on a pillow in my lap, in a chair on the first row so she could see it when she played.
I already know right from wrong … that’s easy cause it makes sense. Good means peace and wrong means pain. And, if you ever wonder which one, just ask somebody in your mind … that’s what I do when I pray. I have a lot of questions so I pray a lot … that’s why God has guardian angels. Just in case He and Jesus are busy, somebody will hear me.
It’s the preacher’s time to talk. I like him talking better than his sermons – he gets pretty loud, I guess he gets excited about what he’s saying! This is different. He’s talking about putting your name in the book of life. Not exactly sure what that is though. He’s saying if I want to go to Heaven, I have to be saved and baptized. Oh my, all this time I thought being good was enough. What now? He’s calling for prayer from all over the church. People are talking, but I can’t hear everything. If I could turn around, it would help.
Now he’s saying if anybody wants to be saved and baptized, they can walk down to the Alter. There’s my answer. I just know I’m gonna get in trouble. Dad already told me I couldn’t get up until church was over.
My mind tells me I have to go get in line, so I get up as fast as I can and hurry down. A woman reaches out to my hand and guides me in front of her. I’m betting on Dad not saying anything in front of everybody.
When it was my turn, the preacher took my hand, “Hello, Ms Jane, why are you here.”
“I want to be saved and baptized.” This is serious; I’m not smiling.
Softly, he’s saying, “As a child, you already have the Grace of God until you grow up. Why do you want to be baptized?”
“I want my name in the book of life.” My knees feel weak and I’m trembling, but I can’t stop looking in his eyes; he can’t tell me no. I’m praying, please, Jesus, don’t let him say no.
“What does that mean to you?” he says. I’m thinking he thinks I don’t understand.
“God is my heavenly father; I already know his angels and talk to them a lot. I want him to remember my name, and when I die take me to heaven.”
“The baptism is this evening; I will talk with your parents this afternoon.” He says a prayer and hands me over to a deacon to take me back to my dad.
(to be continued)