Monday, November 19, 2012

As I Went Down to the River to Pray....

O sinners, let's go down
Let's go down, come on down
O sinners, let's go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol' way
And who shall wear the robe and crown?
Good Lord show me the way

Some people cry at weddings.  As a matter of fact, I will admit to wiping away tears a time or two myself of either sentimentality or heartfelt emotion.  Either way,  tears are a sincere expression on these occasions and hardly exceptional or unusual, whatever the motivation.

I cry at baptisms.  When anyone, young or old, child or adult, climbs down those stairs and takes our preacher's hand as he or she steps into the water, I weep.  The words, 'I baptize you, my brother' or 'my sister' cut to the core of my being as something inside me recognizes  and acknowledges power outside my ability to comprehend or control.  This human ceremony is consecrated and designed, not merely by our tradition and understanding, but by the hand of God himself.  In baptism, we witness God in Man to our utmost gratitude and in spite of our limited cognizance.

This mystery is akin to the other vows we make in front of God's altar.  We cry at weddings at the solemnity of the promises pledged between two people, imperfect even as they are spoken.  We fail at these goals because we aren't perfect; we fail ourselves, those we love, and Lord only knows how many others, more times than we can measure.  But we still mean what we say, when we say it.

But this bond is different. What makes a little boy or girl stand up and make a decision so sublime and declare it to all their known world?  Who moves them to do this on their own, without Mom or Dad or friends or teacher from school or Grandmas or Grandpas?

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery ; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 1 Corinthians 15:51.

1 Kings 19:11-13 (KJV)
11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

Well there's no doubt that life's a mystery
But so too is the human heart
Mary Chapin Carpenter...John Doe Noe.24

Whatever the means, whatever the volume, it is a matter to ponder in your own heart when someone proclaims their faith before God and their neighbors.  That declaration is in itself evidence of a mighty leap of faith.

What a marvel! Surely it is permitted to shed happy tears for every miracle we behold....

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