On my way from a shopping errand, I saw a long line outside of a store that had yet to open . I was thinking to myself, they must be giving away something valuable, like clothes or food. So, I inquired as to what the line was all about to someone who was nearby , and he told me that they were there because “da’ Jordans were in.” Me not, completely, understanding him asked, “Michael Jordan is in the store?”
“No, he replied impatiently, ” the new Jordan sneakers came out today.” You mean to tell me that here it is three days before Christmas, and people are lining up outside of a shoe-store to buy over-priced sneakers?!? Has the world lost the last remaining marble that we once knew as “Sanity?” For some reason, the stranger tried to justify this “madness” by informing me that these sneakers only came out every five years! Then he gave me a look that could easily be read that he thought that I was the crazy one! As I sat down in the bus terminal, I opened my New Testament to the Gospel of Mark. In the opening paragraph, there was”John baptizing in the Jordan River. Coincidence? I think not. My heart sent a hymn to my mind..”shall we gather at the ri-ver…the beautiful…beautiful river…
Some people back then might have asked themselves or others that question. Why would God give such a vital task to someone who did not have the “lifestyle of the rich and famous?” John. The baptizer, was anything but the epitome of a salesman for success. He lived in the desert, wore a handmade garment (got belt?), and he dined on bugs dipped in honey. That doesn’t sound like someone that I would think could lead me to the path of the pearly gates. But, God already knew what John was going to be like, and still thought that he would be the perfect candidate for a VERY valuable job . John would give the lost a hope of being made right with God and receive a gift that would, also, make them holy in His sight. That is Good News, indeed. What made this news even better is that no money was required. The only acceptable payment was that you had to admit that you were a sinner in need of a Saviour. People from Judea and Jerusalem came in droves. They didn’t care what John’s apparel looked like or what his diet was. Their only concern was that the condition of their heart was in such a state that they knew that they were not in right standing with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And, something was compelling them to believe that John was the prophet that could get them cleansed and back on track. So, to the Jordan they went! And, some would be there on that God-ordained day when Yeshuah (Jesus) Himself would be baptized by John. Not that He had a sin-sick heart, but because of the fulfilling of righteousness.
I was in my late teens when I learned and understood about “the Great Exchange.” I had just been dumped by my heroin-addict drug-dealer boyfriend. I had just started chanting to Buddha via an aluminum foil box to get him back, when my sister got a message from an old boyfriend that “he loved her and wanted to take her someplace special on Friday.” At the time, we lived in the most raggedy house on the block. Sheets for curtains. Old encyclopedias for couch legs. Rats and roaches everywhere. Our parents had long abandoned us to live with their lovers in nicer abodes. We were left alone to provide and take of ourselves and each other. So we did. Our neighbors took pity on us and did not report our lack of parental supervision to the authorities. To tell you the truth, I don’t know whether it was pity or fear. It doesn’t matter. The main thing was that we were not split up. We use our street smarts and survival skills to get from one day to the next. We looked out for ourselves and each other. The sister a year older than me was like our surrogate mother. So, we were a little worried when she was busy getting ready for what we thought would be a “hot date.” Especially, since that guy that had sent the message had ” dogged and dumped” her only a few years earlier. He was not the dog that the father of her baby was, but only by a dog’s hair ! She left with enough make-up on to fill a painter’s palette, shoes that made her four inches taller, and a halter dress that was so short it came with matching…uh…well you git my drift.
My sister returned home with her “date” with looking quite different from the way she looked when she left. Before we could ask about her evening, three words of excited me flew out of her mouth: “I GOT SAVED!” I think even the rats and roaches were as shocked as we were! “YOU WHAT?!?” As she began to tell about how her date took her to a Friday night service, and how she even met the two other girls that he “dogged and dumped” her for, and before the service was over they were all hugging each other because she had given her life to Jesus! I went from thinking that about all the make-up , jewelry, and clothes that I was going to inherit now that she was “saved” to thinking about how my street-savvy sister could be soooo deceived! Her date turned to me and started telling me the same spiel that she, obviously, fell for. He was telling me about God, Jesus, and Heaven as if mattered whether or not I believed him. I had gone to church when I was a little girl, but the way that salvation was being explained to me, now, was different. Why? I don’t know, I only know that I was mesmerized by the words. As he talked, I began to forget about the heartless person that he was in high school. The man standing before me was not who I remembered. And, my heart was pounding and getting warm. Just when I was starting to give my rebuttal, the pastor of the church group came into the house. We hardly ever kept it shut in the summer. He had large eyes, beautiful brown skin, and small goatee. His hair was a semi-shaped afro. This young preacher was, indeed, handsome. But, he was, also, married. His wife was waiting in their car. They still had one more passenger to drop off. Upon entering, he greeted us all. And, then, he too began to tell me
about this “new” Jesus. After, extending an invitation to the rest of us to come to the next service, they gave us a hug and left. I decided to go to the next service that following Friday night. After, I was convinced that God had seen all the things that I did and still wanted me to give me a second chance….to be clean….to be His. With a bowed platinum-blond head (long story..may share later on), wearing clothes that would make a hooker check her closet, and with a tear-drenched face: I prayed a prayer that would change the direction of my life. Although my baptism was not in the clean river of Jordan, but the city polluted waters of Rainbow Beach, it was still beautiful . While the bearded afro wearing pastor prayed with me, my new brother ‘s in Christ aided me in making a successful submersion and resurrection into my new life. Why were all these beautiful young people throwing their lives away in the heat of the day? Our hearts constrained us…..would could not do otherwise.

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