I started this blog in hopes of recording some of my earlier memories to share with my friends and family as I remember them – you know – I should have written that down – well I am. Lying in bed this Sunday morning looking forward to a SUNRISE in CLEAR skies that we haven’t seen in two or more weeks, my thoughts were on church on Sunday, and this memory that has been well hidden back in the recesses in my old brain surfaced, and I just had to share.
I grew up going to church at an old country church, Fairview Church of the Brethren. My dad was a life-long member of the church, a church dating back well before the civil war. Some of my family were clergy members way back when. This is were I came to know God in my life.
My wife and I decided to raise our family in the Lutheran Church, her family church, and basically located in our backyard. Our kids were baptized as infants and then were confirmed when they got old enough to learn about the church through confirmation, but in the Brethren Church you were dedicated as an infant by your parents, promising God and the Church that they would raise you in the Christian Faith, and when old enough, the child was encouraged to make a public confirmation of their faith in God and be baptized.
Well, when I turned 10 or 11 my mom would have many talks about me taking that step. I have always believed in God and Jesus as my savior, but that is a big step to take as a boy. At that time Fairview would have yearly revivals – week long evening church services where the invitation was given each night to come forward and affirm your faith and belief, and ask to be baptized. Those invitations were given all year long of course, but those yearly revivals is where the walk to the front of the church was expected to happen for the youth of the church. It took me a couple years of squirming in the pews and ignoring mom’s stare on those evenings before I finally summoned up the courage at age 11 or 12 to step out of the pew and walk up and take a knee at that alter. Wow! – what an uplifting feeling (and also a lot of relief of finally doing it!)
On the final Sunday of revival week the baptisms of those who confessed their sins and asked for baptism were held in a river a couple of miles from the church. No sprinkling of holy water here – you walked in the river and the pastor helped as Jesus washed away those sins. I remember this Sunday to be a beautiful summer day, the water being cold, but a good day. What I really remember well though is what happened after that baptism that will always bring a smile to my face!
The entire church made that trek to the river that Sunday because there were several of the youth being baptized that day, and probably an adult or two. After the baptisms we all made the trek back to the church for one of those wonderful church meals of celebration – a church meal and visiting with each other was so much fun – and sorely missed during this time of Covid. This day as we kids ran around the church, including the basement where the meal was being prepared, I could hear kittens somewhere in the church. Now many of the kids could hear them too, and we all were hoping they were old enough that we could take one home, but we had to find that nest of kittens first. I was the first to hear the kittens so I should be able to get first pick of the kittens and I was excited. I could hear those kittens about everywhere I went, but the noise was louder in the basement and it wasn’t long before most of the church was looking for those kittens in that basement, but they sure were hidden well! Finally Pastor David told me to stop! so we could listen better. Then he told me to take a few steps towards one end of the basement. Sure enough I heard those kittens again, then he started laughing!!! Seems as though when I walked in that river to be baptized, my tennis shoes of course got very wet, and even though I changed clothes when arriving back at the church, I didn’t change those shoes and those wet sneakers would squeak like a kitten every time I took a step!
Now the whole church had a good laugh at Steve’s Kittens, I am sure my face turned as red as my daughter’s who is famous for how red her embarrassed faces gets, and we as kids had to get over the disappointment of only finding wet sneakers instead of cute little kittens, but it made one of the most important days of my life even that much more memorable!!! It will always bring a smile to my face when I remember!
Thanks for sharing in my attempt to record some of my thoughts and memories of years past to my family and friends – which I hope can include you! Feel free to like, follow, or comment and be a part of this sharing of memories. Thank you!!!!
Steve, aka Countrypap