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November 24, 2003

A Nice And Accurate Prophecy

In the fall of 1958, a group of first year students at Duke Divinity went to Duke Memorial United Methodist in Durham to hear Bishop Paul Neff Garber, author of The Fighting Spirit of Methodism, speak. Among them was my father.

This past Sunday he returned to the sanctuary of that church to see his third grandchild baptized. While we waited for the service to begin, he told one and all what Bishop Garber said that night.

If you young men fail to heed God's call to the ministry, we are going to turn to the young women.

A little less than an hour later Scotty M was baptized by the female associate minister at Duke Memorial, who stepped in when the female senior minister was called away for the birth of her first grandchild.

It was a close call as to which pleased the Reverend Dad more, the baptism of his grandson, or to stand in witness of Bishop Garber's 45 year old prophecy.

Postscripts: He would have been happy to baptize Scotty M, as he did Ngnat, but the crazy old coot had broken a rib on the arm of his Lazy Boy a week earlier when he leaned over too far while trying to pick up the television remote.
-------
The associate minister who baptized Scotty was half of the team that ushered me into my first marriage 13 years ago. I reduced Dad to tears in the middle of the service when I leaned over to him and whispered "I sure hope this baptism takes better than that marriage did."

The broken rib may have helped with that, a bit.
-------
All the members of the extended family present to witness the baptism were called to the front of the church for the ceremony. There were twelve of us there, so we blocked off a good part of the baptismal view.

This didn't sit well with one of the youths of the church, an eight year old boy, without siblings, his parents later told us, who wanted to see what was going on. So he joined us.

The first I knew of it was when he eased his way in front of G-daddy to stand beside me. Everyone shifted over a notch, I looked down, and there was...this kid. Not knowing what else to do, and suspecting in any case that standing among a crowd of complete strangers in front of the entire church had to be somewhat nerve racking, I offered him my free hand. He took it without a word, and remained beside me for the entire baptism. When it was over, he turned and left. I still haven't spoken to him, nor he to us.

Brave kid. Odd as can be, but brave nonetheless.

Posted by Bigwig at November 24, 2003 11:40 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
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Comments

Great story, BigWig.
-Sid

Posted by: sid at November 25, 2003 08:06 AM

I never knew that a LazyBoy could be harmful. I think I'll call my lawyer.

Posted by: MojoMark at November 25, 2003 12:18 PM
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