Once a known burglar went to a preacher to seek redemption, he found the preacher in front of the congregation, and was conducting his usual Sunday service, everyone in the building including the minister himself was shocked to see him approach the pulpit, while everyone was seated and was listening to the sermon, he walked slowly to the front where the minister was standing, this attracted everyone’s attention, his chair looked shaggy and his clothes were tattered, poor and dirty, he appeared as if he had been sleeping in a stable the previous night, his hands and hind limbs appeared shaky, he struggled to stand upright and said these words to the preacher, “sire if you may wish please baptise me now, I need you to place your hands upon me so that I may be healed.”
Such words took everyone by surprise, an atmosphere of mixed feelings of fear and excitement began to linger around, you started hearing murmurs among the congregation, others were eager to see the fellow get baptised while others saw it as a risky affair, in the midst of confusion, an usher rose and said these words to the minister, “please be careful sire, this guy you are condoning in front of us here as you may not be aware is a known criminal, a burglar and a murderer as well, the police are looking all over the place for him, they might already be here by now, please let him sort out his issues with the authorities first before he can come to you, he might put you in great trouble, your own security and that of the congregation is at great risk, please understand.”
The minister raised his head once more and asked the usher to remain silent, he then said this to the fugitive, “please stay seated, let me finish my sermon first then I will attend to you later,” he took the first bench that was almost empty, there he remained silently till when the sermon was over.
When the service ended later in the afternoon, the minister walked the visitor outside the church down the pavements toward a nearby stream, “we have no water in the church today”, but some of his church goers didn’t like this idea they insisted that the preacher let the thug go his way, “are you sure you want to be associated with this man?” they asked him, never before has the baptism of one man ever brought such controversy to this small community, many people thought something bad is going to happen to them if the preacher accepts this request, they followed them down to the river and watched the guy carefully, they had speculated that he planned to drown the preacher down the river and walk away, but when they got to witness the transformation themselves they were satisfied, they bid the poor guy farewell and let him move on his journey. Just as he came so did he go, he disappeared into the horizon and was never seen or heard from again, no one wanted to talk about him after this, no one wanted to call the police.
In later sermons the minister asked his congregation why they had acted so strangely. “Why were you betraying the cross?” he asked them, “when you all came to be to be baptized I did not ask details of your backgrounds, do you certainly think that your transgressions are lesser than his, that I should refuse to give him his right of passage?”
They did not answer.