Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Baptismal Imagery

Those who love fiction know that with every page turn there is the possibility for experiencing a surprising unexpected moment.  Such a moment came in my recent reading of Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry.  While I am not sure of the author's intent at that point in the story, there was on page 346 a powerful image of baptism.  As a way of encouraging you to read the whole book and as a way of being blessed as was I, let me share it with you.

In the story Jayber is talking about his new life at the edge of the river.  "And then I take clean clothes, soap, and a towel, and go down to the water.  I lay the clean clothes and the towel on the bow of the boat and strip off my sweaty things.  Carrying the soap, I wade out until the water is up to my chin.  I soap my head and face.  As I wade back toward the shore, I soap the rest of my body as it emerges.  I sit on the gunnel of the boat and soap my feet.  Then I put down the soap, stand up, take two steps, dive, and swim down into the dark to the limit of my breath.  When I wade out again, I am cool and clean, delighted as a risen soul."

When I read it, I thought of the imagery of Paul as he wrote about, "taking off...putting on."   I thought about some of the great moments shared with folks at the baptismal water.  I finished the words and said "Amen...and Wow!"

No comments: