Monday, January 29, 2007

The baby-less baptism.

I do not know a great many members of the congregation here, as the church family is the size of a small town and the task of getting to know each and every one is more fitting of say, the Senior Pastor. My exposure to the congregants is minimal. I see people who frequent the building, those who take Bible Studies, or otherwise actively participate in regular church activities. As in any organization, the number of active participants is typically a mere fraction of the full membership. The people I have come to know are friendly and nice. I see lots of heart in their spirits, and I like that.

I can’t tell you what they do for a living, what their likes and dislikes are, who their favorite authors are, ( other than the Bible variety) or who their favorite speakers are ( other than the Pastors who offer sermons onsite here).

I can tell you some things, though. Many members enjoy superbubble gum. They prefer Kleenex to Puffs, and they have a weakness for chocolate. They brush their teeth often, as is demonstrated by their million dollar smiles, and they are cordial folks. I also know something else. Their after hours activities keep me employed.

“What?” You might say. “What is she talking about? After hours? What can the church chick possibly know about members and their after hour time?” and “What does that have to do with her job?” Fair questions, my friends. Fair questions. All in good time, readers.

I have many lovely tasks in my job, one of which includes various baby prattle-type. When babies are born, I call in the rosebud, alert the congregation via the white board, send the info to those who can continue the welcoming through newsletter, meals and signage.

Eventually, when the newness of birth has worn off, somewhat; the topic of Baptism comes up. This is a very personal and important time of the parents' lives. The babies don’t really care much about it, but in my experience as a church chick, parents care about this ritual a lot. A whole lot. .Baptisms carry their own lists of things to do and calls to make; emails to send....yada yada yada. The tasks keep me busy- i.e. working/employed. Thanks, parents.

We’ve had so many baptisms vying for the calendar in the last month, that it is pretty. P.R.E.T.T.Y clear to me what’s been going on around town, sister. Well, maybe I should just say I can guess who wasn’t watching the movie of the week or the football game 9 months ago. Let’s leave it at that and move on.

Dips and sprinkles abound around here this time of year ... If you think it’s a big job to bring a baby into this world, try organizing a baptism, and maybe then, maybe then you will reconsider.

We have a group of people who volunteer their time to help take pictures, greet/welcome the family; ushers who reserve the pews for family, and Clergy who conduct the time-honored ritual of baptism. There are many pieces that have to fall into place, and often times, as human nature will have it, one or more pieces are scrambling to find their place- if you will. This is one volunteer job that is really utilized. And that is exactly why, I found this past Sunday baby-less baptism funny.

I came in this Monday morning ready to face the week ahead. The Pastor came out of his office, while I was unlocking my door across the hall, slipped in behind me and promptly parked himself on the edge of the huggy round chair across from my desk. He held a Baptism certificate in his hand. Yes, my boss greeted me this morning with a kind heart as he usually does-but in our conversation over how the weekend went at church he informed me all went relatively well except for the Baptism.

“What?” “What went wrong?” I asked.
“Did the baby puke? Cry? Scream? What happened?”
He settled into the round hug chair and shook his head, looked down at his shoes. It scared me into continuing my 20 questions.
“ Did the photographer show?”
“Did the coordinator come?”
“uh huh”
“ Did the ushers reserve the pews for family?”
“Did I spell the names right?”
He looked at the certificate and said, “ uh, yeah, well I think so. Puciowlarginex is spelled like this, I guess.”
“Was there water in the Baptismal font?”
He shook his head yes, but kept looking down.
“ Was there algae in it?”
His head swept up and tilted to the side. He looked at me intently with a serious Pastoral calm.
“Well, I didn’t really notice that-

The custodian happened to pass by at that moment and I called to him , “Regent- can you see if the Baptism water is clear? And add a little algae-be-gone if it isn’t?” Then I turned back to our conversation.
The Pastor cleared his throat. “Algae-be-gone?”
" Algae-be-gone, Algae clear, whatever. I waved his question aside, continuing my quest to find out what went wrong with the baptism.
“ Please,Pastor, tell me what went wrong at the Baptism?”
“ Well, everybody was there except the baby.”

“What? What happened? Was he abducted? Did he crawl away? Was he let loose?”
“No, no, no. I came in and saw everyone waiting for the show to begin. The stage was set. The church was full, all players in place, but just no family.”
“Oh, My God. Did you call the police?, the FBI, CSI?”

“ No. we called the family. They thought they were on the books for another day. They went home after Sunday School and went back to bed.” Then he continued. “ I just thought it interesting that every other detail was in perfect alignment this once, except for the baby.”He pulled himself out of the chair and stepped across the hall to his cave.
My adrenalin drained taking my energy with it and I melted down from the windowsill, and poured myself back into my desk chair.

I called after him,“Maybe we should consider keeping a babydoll on hand in case something like this happens again so you’ll have something to sprinkle.”

“ Yeah, maybe we should." I heard the familiar click of his door closing and then, opening again. "Uh, church chick- you know I’m just kidding about that, right?”

I looked up from my Toys-R-Us catalog. “ Oh. Sure I do,boss. Sure.” I closed the magazine and continued on into my Monday .


"imagine the darkness in love with the light." said...

lmao that's great. yea we have a play baby for the christmas pagent if the child gets tired, sick, crying, ect. but i've never known anyone to have a baby on hand for bapsitism. that's great i love it. and how funny that the parents thought that it was on a different date and eveyone else shows.

Anonymous said...

Didn't realize the parents had gone back home after S.S. Quite a letdown for all concerned.Hope it was rescheduled. Good addition to the collection! VA