WADE IN THE WATER
The baptismal tradition in the South was a serious undertaking. The first step was to pray before the church as you knelt on the mourner’s bench. It was a “coming together” because the church prayed with you and for you. After prayers of forgiveness and repentance, you became a candidate for water baptism. On a designated Sunday morning, dressed in pure white, baptismal candidates prepared for their immersions. It was a showcase of traditional ceremonial rituals.
In my home town of Glen Allan, Mississippi, the baptismal candidates, their families, the pastor and congregation marched uptown to the banks of Lake Washington. Most of the town's colored folks came out to witness those being “born again” by water baptism. The traditional old Negro spirituals that were sung included “Take me to the Water to be Baptized,” and the exalted “Wade in the Water” … among others. After coming out of the water as a newly baptized saint, your conduct was to reflect a renewed Christian spirit and heart! The Mothers of the church would invariably sing "Something got a Hold on Me" and the pastor would say, "Let the church say Amen!" Today, the scenery has changed, but the tradition remains the same. The lyrics - “Give me that old time Religion. It was good enough for my Mother and it's good enough for me" - will never go out of style and have never been truer.
Reminiscing, I say Happy Sunday and Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Photo credit: African American Religion/Southern Baptism