in the non-conformist churches that i attended as a teenager it was customary to see people being baptised, full immersion style. on my brother becoming a Christian, he decided to be baptised in a local river on his birthday…which is in January. there was deep snow and the water was very cold…
rural riverbank somewhat snow-smudged;
shivering, my believer-brother judged
water temperature: full immersion
his wintry baptism, new testament version.
our announcement to small-town locals
nailed to a pole, crude wording vocal:
“believers baptism” – onlookers arrived,
their Sunday winter walks quite contrived.
Held steady-footed in the river’s flow
the baptiser asked, did my brother know
Jesus as his personal saviour –
did he reject sin and change his behaviour?
On affirmation, my brother disappeared
underwater, on resurfacing this poet cheered;
ego-drowned, buried & then resurrected,
not quite the show the curious expected.
clothes fully soaked, hair water-slicked,
on cue, news cameraman’s shutter clicked,
then testimony in shivering voice spoken
eccentric image published, prejudices broken.