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Faith Imagined: Baptism

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

February 5, 2010

Baptism

A Baptism Fear

The woman stood with her left foot on the crimson carpet and her right foot on the first wooden step. Her hands were white-knuckled, side by side, grasping onto the smooth polished railing. Her spine felt like a metal pole, and the natural pulse of her body vibrated every nerve down her spine with each hurried breath.

Her pastor’s words rang like an alarm clock from the stage, signifying that it was her time to wake up. She had an image of slamming his nose to make the noise stop, and she quickly reprimanded herself. He was a good man, but he expected too much. She eyed the baptismal. What did she think she was doing?

She wore a white robe over her gym clothes, but she wished she were wearing a full-bodied scuba suit. She could see the dirt smeared all over her skin and could feel the thick layers of foul crust covering her hands and feet. Years of walking in the mud of this world and carrying the grime of her life had left their mark.

The filth she wore crinkled into dust on the crimson carpet around her left foot. She followed the filthy path to the door that opened into the parking lot. Her purse sat patiently on a velvet cushioned chair next to the door. The purse was nothing special to her, yet it guarded the pieces that made up her life – her driver’s license, credit cards, cell phone and the keys to her car and house all waited to be reclaimed. Her hands released the railing ready to retrace her steps, but her right foot wouldn’t budge from the wooden step.

The woman almost lost her footing, and she had to grab hold of the railing again. Her left foot effortlessly held the weight of her fall. Her right foot stayed fastened to the wooden step. She was able to balance her body once more.

She closed her eyes and tried to relax the quiver of her veins. The ringing of her pastor’s voice was replaced with worship music. The guitar sang praises to the Creator, and the drums trembled a beat to His almighty. Indistinct voices could be heard, and they all created a soft hum that hushed the apprehension of her mind.

Her hands relaxed their grip on the railing, and the weight of her body moved forward to her right foot. She felt her left foot lose its strength, and the tension in her back released. A breath from within saturated the pores of her skin, and the dirt that covered her lost its hold and fell to the ground. The woman opened her eyes to see the stained floor, but the crimson carpet bled over the brown, and the blemished path could no longer be seen.

A verse her pastor had given her filled her mind, and his confident words cleared a new path toward the baptismal. She heard her name echoing from all corners of the church, and saw her pastor gesture that it was time. The wooden step supported her right foot as it pulled the left foot off of the crimson carpet. The left foot landed insecurely on the next step, and the pastor’s voice continued to draw her near, whispering, “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water” Hebrews 10:22 (NIV).


~ Questions ~


Theme -

1) Why was the woman so nervous?

2) What helped ease her nerves and why?

3) What can we as Christians do to help others take that profession of faith (baptism)?

Style -

4) Rhetorical Devices are used in fiction to help paint a richer picture for the readers. In this piece, I used simile, personification, symbolism, and alliteration. Can you identify one of these rhetorical devices in this piece?

5) Do you see anything symbolic about the placement of the woman's feet?

6) Is there a description or a sentence that you really enjoyed?

Personal -

7) Have you ever experienced a time when you wanted to run away from something, but you didn't? What made you stay the course?

8) There is no such thing as a perfect church because the church is made up of imperfect humans. How can you look beyond the flaws and see the church as Jesus' beloved bride?

9) If we based all of our self-esteem and self-worth on God and His love for us, do you think we would have a problem with feeling insecure or unwanted? Why?

It is not too late to join this month's writing group! If you would like to add your writing exercise to First Friday Fiction, please add your fiction link to Mr. Linky below. You have all weekend to get it in! We would love for you to join us in the fiction fun!



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11 Comments:

Blogger Crissy said...

I just loved all the Baptism fiction writing pieces! They were a joy to read! Thank you for sharing your gifts!!!

10:48 AM  
Blogger Tiffany Kohnen said...

I really enjoyed reading all the fiction for FFF. They were wonderful to read. It made me remember of my baptism and my lack of understanding it. How naive I was!

As for this page's story, I am left with wondering what the placement of the foot symbolized. I can't help but remember what God said to Eve, that she would crush Satan with her right heel. I think that's the answer... haha

It's a great writing piece you've written--so many metaphors!

12:41 PM  
Blogger Joan said...

I love the part about the crimson carpet bleeding over the brown stain of her sins. Great piece.

I'm glad you began this meme. Looking forward to March!

Blessings,
Joan

9:43 PM  
Blogger Simply Stacie said...

Following you from the Friday Follow!

http://stacievaughansblog.blogspot.com

1:08 PM  
Blogger Deborah Ann said...

I found the use of adjectives here to really help in painting the pictures in my mind. This story is brilliant!

2:50 PM  
Blogger Bernadine said...

Great story. I could really picture this event and sense the uncertainty and expectation experienced by the woman.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Kathryn Magendie said...

Beautiful images presented here, especially of her feet and what happens when she steps.

I can remember times of wanting to run away, to hide . . . and I just go...step step step ....

(I can see to my right where you have "contributing writer at exemplifyonline" -that's an image I have on my first trailer - the TG one! *smiling!* - I just love it)

10:49 AM  
Blogger Kelli said...

I love it all!!! Thank you for sharing your gift with us!

1:50 PM  
Blogger sarah said...

I loved reading this...the imagery was awesome. I could feel her nervousness...and His cleansing her sins...
I've also enjoyed doing this..I didn't think I had anything to write about baptism but found out I did.

4:14 PM  
Blogger 3 Blessings said...

WOW! I felt like I was there with her. So real and very touching.
Blessings,
Amy

1:24 PM  
Blogger OceanDreams said...

What a powerful story and I think it is important before one gets baptized to fully understand it and know that they have nothing to fear. It is simply a beautiful way to show fellow believers that you believe and understand that it is a testimony to Jesus' love and your love for Him and a community of believers in return. :)

4:49 PM  

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