Country Writings

Thursday, January 26, 2006

"O Come to the church in the wildwood, o come to the church in the Vale--no church is so dear to my childhood as the little brown church in the vale."

As the bell tolled, they came two by two to the little country church--or as a family--both parents sometimes carryhing small children in their arms.. There were quilts brought to lie in the floor fortheir children as they fell to sleep.

The people sang with gusto many songs. Many requests were made and sung. The songs were all rythmic and brought a tap ofthe foot or a swaying ofthe head--also a tear to the eye.

When the preacher began to preach, he faltered as he tried to readthescripture--the lantern was brought closer so hecould read better. As he expounded the scriptures, fans were fanning furiously in the hands of the congregation and the men wiped perspiration from their faces. Thecountry preacher's fist wouldstrike the rostrom as he spoke of God's great love--the little church would shake from the blow and the lantern's light would quiver.

No one thought ofthe lateness ofthe hour andchildren whimpered, were soothed and then slept.

As theservice ended, there was much hand-shaking, laughter and happiness. There had been no order of service--anyone could speak or testify. No bulletins to watch to see what was next on the "agenda."You knew there would be singing, testifying and preaching,and not necessarily in that order. There would be no announcements, no reports--only Spirit filled services.

Is therestill "a little church in the vale," where people long to go? Our churches are so 2big--we're glad of thyisas Christians and rightfully so--but we become only a number in attendance. The bulletins are so filled with"activities" and announcements that our hungry sould wonders if the preacher will ever preach. By thetime he begins to preach, our bodies and souls are so tired we long to listen butso many times we cannot--even 30 minutes seems more then 2 hours did in the little country church.

I longto go back to the little country church andsee the people on their knees and to sing and feel a closeness to God and His creation--man.