BY KAREN SLATER
You sit beneath an ancient olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane, sail on the Sea of Galilee, follow the path Jesus walked, and stand inside the dungeon where he was imprisoned overnight. The emotions are overwhelming when you experience the places where Our Lord and Savior lived and died.
As a pastor, I had been privileged to visit Israel in the past. But to do so in March with my son, John, was a gift far surpassing anything I might have on a bucket list.
Nothing could have prepared John and me for the grace showered over us as we journeyed into another time and place. We toured the Holy Land with a group led by Kirk Norman, an Oklahoma City pastor and son of the late Revs. Bill and Randa Norman.
One-on-one time with John was itself a treat. As parents know, regardless of our children’s ages and life experiences, they always remain our children. To witness John drink in this sacred experience filled my heart with joy.
The highlight of our trip had to be when I baptized John in the Jordan River. We both had anticipated it with awe.
When our turn came, I looked into the face of my grown child as he contemplated the power of the moment. Words were unavailable, and words were unnecessary. We both knew we were in the presence of the Holy Spirit, and we felt the warmth of that grace.
As I lowered him, I could feel him shaking with emotion. Coming out of the water, his tears flowing freely, he bowed his head in humble gratitude.
Thank you, sweet Jesus, for the grace and blessings that you continue to shower on your sons and daughters. Love without measure.
(Rev. Slater has begun her sixth year as pastor at Waurika United Methodist Church.)
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Karen Slater of Waurika baptizes her son, John, in the Jordan River.
‘It was His plan all along’
BY JOHN GAYHART
To experience this trip with my Mom seemed to bring completion to the full circle of her influence on me. With Jesus as the foundation of our family and of our relationship, it was only fitting that she and I experienced this together.
It was His plan all along.
The Lord showed up that week, locked my Mom and me arm-in-arm, and made very clear that was where we were supposed to be. Together.