Some of you may be familiar with the movie, “O Brother Where art Thou”. It is certainly one of my favorites! The movie is set in rural Mississippi during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. There is a scene early on in the movie where Delmar O’Donnell , an escaped convict running from the law, hears a group of people singing, “Down to the River to Pray”, also sung by Alison Krauss. The choir members are walking as a group through the trees toward a river while they sing the song. He then is invited by one of the woman in the choir to join them.
Upon seeing the group of people lined up to be baptized, he rushes to the front of the line to be saved! I enjoy Delmar’s enthusiasm for receiving cleansing and the beginning of a new life in Baptism. After he is baptized, he comes slogging back through the water to the shore and tells his companions and fellow escapees Everett and Pete:
Well that’s it boys, I been redeemed!
The preacher warshed away all my
sins and transgressions. It’s the
straight-and-narrow from here on out
and heaven everlasting’s my reward!
Delmar what are you talking
about? – We got bigger fish to fry-
Preacher said my sins are warshed
away, including that Piggly Wiggly I
knocked over in Yazoo!
I thought you said you were innocent
of those charges.
Well I was lyin’ – and I’m proud to
say that that sin’s been warshed
away too! Neither God nor man’s got
nothin’ on me now! Come on in, boys,
the water’s fine!
After hearing this, his companion Pete decides to get baptized as well. I just love Delmar’s excitement, his enthusiasm! Although it may not have been the intent of the movie makers when they made it, this is a wonderful story about God’s calling us to be a part of his family. It is a story of God’s grace and forgiveness! It is a story about changing our lives because we are a child of God. It is a story about the community of faith as well.
This scene reminds me of the Scripture reading from Acts 8:26-40. Philip meets a eunuch who is reading from the prophet Isaiah, and begins to explain the meaning to him. Along the road they find water, and the eunuch, jumps out of the chariot and says: “Look! Water! What would keep me from being baptized?” This is seems is the same enthusiasm for being baptized that Delmar was exhibiting!
I just love the final words from this scene, by Delmar, “Come on in boys, the water’s fine.”
“Come on in boys, the water’s fine.” is an invitation that we can offer to those who wish to be Baptized. The water at Baptism serves as an outward and visual sign of the cleanings of our sins, and in joining the Christian Community as a child of God.
My friends in Christ, remember your Baptism and be thankful!
— Pastor Carol