Old Time Religion
I believe in old time religion and small town churches like the one I was raised in. This church and small town will always have a special place in my heart. I have drifted between various churches over the years but never found the sense of belonging like I had with this church family. I was seven years old when my father began serving as the minister of this church and I was there every Sunday until I was eighteen years old. This church was in a small Kansas town of five hundred people at best. As in most small towns, everyone seemed to be related to each other, not only by blood but by the values they shared. Sunday morning services brought not only the singing of old time hymns, worship and fellowship but also my mother trying her best to keep six children in line. In churches today I have found children are either in nurseries or headed off for their own service, but this was not so in my childhood church. All of us, which included myself, four sisters and one brother sat at the front of the sanctuary with our mother who tried to keep us on our best behavior. An occasional ruckus didn’t bring disapproving looks from the congregation but rather a quiet chuckle. The old time hymns that we sang would forever be etched in my memory. The organist who played without any accompaniment and the small choir led the congregation in song and praise. The praise and worship time, as it is called in some churches today, is nice but just doesn’t hold the same meaning for me. The Old Rugged Cross, Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art are just a few of the hymns we sang week after week, year after year. The sermons my father delivered were filled with old time gospel and a touch of humor. An occasional bang on the pulpit or loudly spoken words would not only emphasize his passion to spread God’s word but also jolt anyone who might have been dozing or otherwise not paying attention. My father would stand in the vestibule when the sermon was over and greet everyone as they left the church. Billy Jim was a special member of our congregation; he was a deaf mute but always managed a huge smile and a noise or two when greeted by my father. Fifth Sunday dinners were always a special time of fellowship with more good food than one could imagine. Whenever a month would have five Sundays there would be a potluck dinner after the morning service. I’m sure if I tried a little harder I could find a church family to call my own, but none will ever have the same meaning as my childhood church with all of its old time religion.
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