Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Blow-out of Epic Proportions

I think that what I like best about being a pastor is the dignity ... the honor ... the never ending respect the position offers. Take this weekend for example.

Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity of performing the marriage ceremony for a lovely young couple, Christie and Nick. Nick recently became a Christian. He is in the air force. He leaves for Afghanistan this week. And so he decided to marry his very-worthy sweet heart before he left. Yesterday ... Valentines Day ... was the appointed moment. It was a very small and very fun wedding! And this morning I had the privilege of baptizing them both. That's how we were kicking-off the worship service. And then I was going to speak on the scripture from Acts, "In Him we live and move and have our being." In order to illustrate the point I went to Wal-Mart and bought six gold fish last night. You see, gold fish live and move and have their being in water. I thought that the parallels were obvious. The gold fish were twelve cents each. Well, we all know how these particular water creatures are famous for expiring early. That's why I purchased six. I was hoping that at least one would make it until morning. When I woke up today five were still swimming. By the time I arrived at Towerview four were still with us. I was getting worried. I placed them on a roman-esque pillar next to the acrylic pulpit in the worship center and went to prepare for Nick and Christy's baptism.

I wore a suit this morning and so I took the coat off, kicked off my shoes, removed my cell phone from my belt, and dropped my watch in my coat pocket. I picked-up the fishing waders that we pastor types use to keep us dry so that we can get back into the worship center quickly. They were tough to get on. Really tough. It had been a while since they had baptized anybody at Towerview. The feet didn't want to bend. Odd. But I managed. I put on the white baptismal robe, prayed with Nick, and it was time to Rock 'N Roll.

I stepped into the water. No problem. I took another step down. Hmmmm. Water immediately soaked the sock on my left foot. This did not bode well. By the time I made it all of the way into the baptistery I felt water up to my calf. When Nick and Christie arrived at my side I was wet up to my knees. The inflow showed no sign of slowing down. I baptized Nick first. This airman is a big guy! He's all beef. Not an ounce of fat on him. He's in "one of those" units. A couple of fly boys in the church told me that he knew 20 ways to kill me. Well, yeah. I don't doubt that. But let's remember that it was THIS little preacher boy that pinned him under water.


And then I baptized his new bride, Christie. She's a petite little thing and as sweet as St. Louis style Gooey Butter Cake. (Christie, that's a good thing, if you are reading this! Tell Nick not to get mad ....) But the point of concern was that by the time I brought her up out of the water I was nearly as wet as she was. And the reason was obvious. One entire foot of the waders was flopping back and forth, held on by one little piece of rubberized cloth. I was soaked from toes to belly button.

You know, when you baptize a person they just bounce up and virtually trot up the steps to waiting towels. But when you are wearing the waders and they are full of water? Well, it's one step ... wait for the drain ... one step ... wait for the drain. You get the picture? By the time I got to the top I was pretty much drenched. I asked for a towel and they gave me all they had. Two paper towels. That wasn't quite what I had in mind.

So at this point I did what any pastor worth his Sunday School Diploma would do. I entered the worship center. Dripping water with every step. Shoeless. A shorted-out lapel microphone in my pocket. Hey, my dignity was never worth too much anyway. As I approached the pulpit I looked down at my gold fish and it occurred to me. It is in the water that they live and move and have their being. And for this one morning ... the same was true of me. I WAS the sermon illustration! That's when I heard it. Laughter. From the throne. It was coming from The Great Laugher of Laughs. I can't help believing that the Father was elbowing The One who sits at His Right Hand. I can almost hear Him say, "Hey. Watch this. Belleville. Towerview. The worship center. This is gonna be so cool!"

The laughter must have rolled. And yea ... I had to join in.


Jen said...

God definitely has a sense of humor. That's a great story. Kinda wish I was there to see you sloshing down the aisle.