Willie the Baptismal Whale (part 1)

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                          December 23, 2012

The water dripped out of the bottom of the baptistery. It was not a good sign! The renovation of the pool had been completed, but a testing of it a few weeks earlier had shown that it was leaking. The experienced, but aging pool man had come and reworked it. He was sure it was as sound as a steel horse trough!

Little Bethany and solidly-built Zach were ready to be the first two tip-and-dipped below the water’s surface.

Bethany, just a bit under reaching her tenth year of life and missing her front two teeth, was excited to proclaim that she knew Jesus. Her older brother, Josh, had been baptized in the frigid waters of the leaking baptistery, even though the depth was kept at just under a foot. Cold is cold, however, and when Josh’s father dipped him under all the congregation heard was a chilled whimper rising up from the walls above the water. Bethany was sure that her experience would be… warmer! Her shyness showed as she would lean against her mom as the pastor talked to her about what baptism meant; but, inwardly, her excitement could have enabled her to jump across a flowing river.

Zach was a football player turned husband and dad. He had gone through some dessert experiences, but had come to know Jesus in a personal way. It’s not that he understood everything, but he knew a few months ago that his life had come to a “fork in the road”. It was a decision point, and he chose to be a follower of the way of Jesus. His wife and kids were excited to see his life slowly but gradually change.

But on Saturday night the water was continuing to drip out of the tank. It seemed like God was giving this Baptist church an object lesson of some kind. Was there some unresolved sin that was keeping this Baptist church from performing baptisms? Or was it simply the error of a pool guy who hadn’t had much experience doing baptisteries? There was Ezekiel’s dry bones, the ram caught in the thicket for Abraham, Jeremiah buying a field as a sign. Could the dry baptistery be a sign of the absence of the Lord’s blessing on this church? People didn’t want to think about it in that way, but the thought tumbled around in many people’s minds.

The pastor sent out a plea on Saturday night to see if anyone had an inflatable pool that might be used.

When the conventional doesn’t work go with the unconventional. Just get it done! Don’t be deterred!

Within a few minutes of his email plea he had a call from one of attenders about a wading pool he had at his house. He would load it in the back of his truck and be right over. The pastor breathed a sign of relief. A short time later, however, his relieved spirit was trumped again as he discovered that his friend’s wading pool was made of sturdy, inflexible plastic and it was too wide for the baptistery.

Lord, why?”

Being December inflatable wading pools were not an item that stores stocked. The pastor had already thought of that route, and had received a few strange looks from hurried store employees trying to find Tonka Trucks and Barbie Doll accessories. One store employee when asked about wading pools looked around trying to find out where the hidden camera was filming the conversation.

The pastor’s email clicked with another message. Another family from the congregation had an inflatable pool that could be used. Baptism was going to happen!

An hour later Keith carried it into the sanctuary in a Sears shopping bag, not because it was brand new and recently purchased, but rather to keep it bundled together so it didn’t sprout into eighty different directions.

It should fit fine!” Keith said. “The only thing is this…it’s Willie the Whale!”

Willie the Whale?”

Yes, when it’s inflated it becomes Willie the Whale…complete with tail…or fin…of whatever a whale has at his back end!”

Baptism in a whale?”

Actually, it is almost like the belly of a whale since the pool part is the inside of Willie.”

A few minutes later after his cheeks had grown weary from blowing into the inflatable, the pastor gazed upon Willie the Baptismal Whale…complete with tail. He carried it to the baptistery and dropped it in.

Perfect! Thank you, Jesus! A modern version of the story of Jonah would happen Sunday morning!

 

Explore posts in the same categories: children, Christianity, Community, Faith, Grace, Humor, Jesus, Pastor, Story, The Church, Uncategorized, Youth

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