A Return to Yesteryear
Experiences in the Church Sanctuary
Written by Gary Piper
Before reading one more word you need to know that every character you’ll read about has come from my imagination. As you read about them you may be able to put a face and a different name to them if you do please remember it is you who have put faces and names to them and not me. You may even find yourself in one or more of them.
Experiences in the Church Sanctuary
Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010
I probably shouldn’t say this but because I am thinking it any way (which is just as bad as speaking it I am told) I might as well spit it out. Today is Resurrection Sunday the day when Jesus makes his grand re-entrance into life, a day when he brings the rest of us out of the tomb with him. However, there are at least two people I hope he leaves in the grave for a day or so to teach them a lesson. Yep, you guessed right, Mrs. Bertha Gruff and Deacon Henry Corner.
I know I need to apologize and spend a whole lot of time on bended knees for thinking of such a thing but coming to my own defense some people are so thick headed that’s the only way they can learn. Having said that in the back of my mind I try not to include myself but there are times when I look into a mirror and all I see is a bulls head looking back at me.
Whoa! After realizing that bit of enlightenment I should ask Jesus to go back into the tomb and get the three of us. When I didn’t see the two of them this morning as I walked into church I really started to worry that Jesus didn’t hear my prayer of repentance. “Hey, John have you seen Bertha and Deacon Henry yet?” I asked the morning’s greeter.
“Not yet but then they usually stay away from Sunrise Services and Sunrise Breakfast but they’ll be here for the 11:00 AM service. Bertha is singing a solo and Deacon Henry has the offering,” John Garrett replied.
I could tell he was being nice after all I’d seen both of them going after him on more than one occasion. As I looked around the only ones who hadn’t word whipped by those two were the young persons under the age of 13.
“Any time Crusty.”
“I don’t know what the ladies are cooking in the kitchen but it sure smells good. I don’t know which I want to worship more the resurrected Jesus or my resurrected appetite,” I commented as I opened the door to the sanctuary.
“May be they can move the worship service into the dining area, Crusty,” George Feaver interjected.
“Fat chance of that with Sir Fast Alott leading the sun’s already up sunrise service this morning,” I quickly replied.
The three of us shared a moment of laughter then I headed through the door.
“Going to your favorite spot, Crusty?”
“I am sure am, John after what I was thinking this morning I’ve got a lot of repenting to do.”
“That bad, uh?”
“You have no idea!”
“I think the two of us need some extra prayers?” John replied smiling.
“Make that three of us,” George added.
“Does the devil tempt people or what?” I commented.
“If we’re thinking along the same lines Jesus sure has his work cut out for him in those two,” John added.
As the door closed behind me it suddenly got real quiet. “The silence is golden,” I whispered to myself. The dark gray sky and with the lights off the sanctuary had an eerie gray look. The scene reminded me of a tomb. “Remember Jesus,” I said, “I did ask for forgiveness.” I weakly prayed.
Taking my seat in the back corner of the sanctuary I bowed my head and began immediately began thanking Jesus for forgiving me for my earlier thoughts and also thanking him for the wonderful silence. When suddenly out of know where my much anticipated and needed silence was suddenly shattered by something all worshippers dread – a growling stomach!
Immediately I grabbed my stomach when, “Gggggrrrrrroooooowwwwwllllll,” and to make matters worse who should walk through the doors at the precise moment. Yep! You’re right again Deacon Henry Corner.
“Did you say something, Crusty?” he asked.
“No I di… Gggggrrrrrroooooowwwwwllllll.”
“Gggggrrrrrroooooowwwwwllllll,” I couldn’t believe it! All I needed was Bertha Gruff to walk in.
I tried as best I could to compose myself and at the same time tame my out of control monstrous appetite. “If that’s what I think it was, Crusty you best go feed it before it gets out and makes a mess of the church,” Deacon Henry said trying not to laugh too hard.
Standing up, “Plea… Gggggrrrrrroooooowwwwwllllll, please excuse me Henry maybe I will go out and steal a couple donuts because I wouldn’t want to drown out the Holy Spirit.”
“Nor would you want to drown out Bertha either,” Henry replied.
When he said that both of us burst out in laughter that was so loud John opened the door and ran in. “What’s so funny?” he asked.
“Say no more, Crusty. One of the dangers of an Easter Sunrise Breakfast is awakening of an appetite.” John replied. “I think they’ve got some appetizers ready.”
“Thanks, John that’s where I’m headed.”
On my way out I whispered to Deacon Henry, “Would that really drown out Bertha?” I asked.
And again we both burst out laughter! Finally after several minutes, “On second thought her mouth may be bigger than your stomach!”
But now we were laughing so hard and loud people were coming into experience what they thought was the joy of the Lord. A few minutes later after downing a couple of donuts I again walked up to Henry to apologize to him. “Crusty,” he said, “do you know how hard it is going to be for me sitting up front and seeing Bertha sitting in her pew?” And we started laughing all over again.
Fifteen minutes later as the worship service began I looked up just in time to see Deacon Henry hide his face behind his hymnal as we began singing the opening song. And lo and behold over top of everyone’s voice I could hear Bertha Gruff singing Amazing Grace and suddenly I again felt the joy of the Lord filling me.
Moments later I closed my eyes and prayed, “Lord, Jesus you sure picked an odd way of helping Deacon Henry and me begin a new relationship together. Now, please help me do the same with sister Bertha. But if one of us needs to be hungry let it be her! Oh, and please don’t let it be gas. Amen!”
It sure is good to worship God!