Saturday, March 19, 2016

Day 34: Saturday: How does one explain?

Oscar hit the water without breaking stride, if you could call it that. I stood at the front of the Ford, my clothes hanging from the hood ornament, and watched the ceremony. Three times the preacher dunked my friend Oscar; three times my friend Oscar came up sputtering and grinning. Hair plastered to his forehead, Oscar Koeppen looked like a gleeful twisted child.
    Minnows … a large school of them scattered when I walked into the water. Three times the obese minister dunked me: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and …
    And when I came up for the third time I opened my eyes to see that one of Shannon’s Herefords had left the herd to observe the proceedings from a closer range—a much closer range, in fact, because the animal’s forelegs were in the creek. The cow was looking straight at me, as if she expected an explanation, and though the afternoon was early already her udder was tight with milk.
    No one had thought to bring towels, so we stretched out on pallets of buffalo grass and let the sun do the toweling for us. I remember lying there—first on my stomach, then on my back—with my eyes closed, the hot sun making me giddy, and I remember also that I tried to give the Hereford a silent explanation; but the words refused to come sufficiently together … how does one explain baptism to an animal whose body transforms grass and grain into the white milk my grandfather and I directed into the mewing mouths of thirsty cats and kittens?

How do you explain baptism to yourself and to others? To non-Christians?  Pray that you might be a witness to the mystery, and the invitation.

This Death by Drowning
Reading from William Kloefkorn This Death by Drowning (Lincoln, NE/London: University of Nebraska Press, 2001), 76-7.

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