Tennessee Days: as far as I can remember, this was a week long revival where my host church at the time, Prayer Garden Church of God in Christ, would have guests, another C.O.G.I.C. church from somewhere down in Tennessee, come up and worship the mighty name of the Lord. I mean, this was an annual thing, the culmination of which were Holy Ghost fire filled church services, new souls coming to Christ, and a huge gathering for dinner on the final Sunday to be served from the house the pastor (maybe the church) owned right next door.
A cup of coffee can take you anywhere you want to go. I think it’s the sitting still; the ability to stop for a moment and gather your thoughts without interruption because almost every one of your senses are fully engaged in it: touch, smell, taste, sight. It lets you just go there, you know? Today, it has taken me to the days of old; the days where I saw the church being run, and I know what I’m going to say next is totally cliché, but the church used to be run like a well oiled machine
Understand, with every sip that I am taking this morning , I realize that my position in the church is very different from the one where I was a bright eyed little girl, watching, and learning, and soaking up all the information to be had; brain pliable, easily retaining everything I saw. Now, I am an adult in 2017, where “the church” is broadcast via cell phones, and internet. And, I just don’t see what a person raised in the church would expect to see.
Whether good, or bad, it’s just not the same. During Tennessee Days, way back in the 70’s, the Usher Board at Prayer Garden was on point. I mean, you have a huge service, every seat filled from one side of the congregation to the other, kids, the elderly, the fashionable, you name it. But, you didn’t see any chewing gum. If you had it in your mouth, you hid it unless you wanted Sister Cooper to walk up to you from the side, hold her white-gloved hand up to your mouth, and wait on you to spit it in her hand, embarrassing you in front of everybody.
And the walking while the pastor, minister, or missionary assigned to deliver the Word of God is up speaking would have been shut down. Trust me when I tell you that the church would have had the Usher Board give an official announcement letting the entire church know not to even try it. And, the parents got it! Wanting to do right by the church, not wanting to embarrass their pastor, and church home by being out of order was at the forefront of their Christian lifestyles. Things were just different.
My second cup brings me to 2017. I wonder what Sister Cooper would say about now? Would she bend on everything she has been taught, and allow almost every kid in the congregation to watch cartoons on YouTube while church is going on? Would she still have a knitted shawl? And would she still be standing ready to wrap it around the women with the jiggly behinds, and no girdles, that walk in church late, and head straight for the front row?
Truth is, some folks today would be standing waiting to hurt poor Sister Cooper’s feelings. Nobody wants order. Everybody wants to do what they want to do. They want to “come as they are”, and let “God know their hearts”, and not have to discipline their own children to the point where they can sit in church, listen to the Word, and learn it, because let’s just face it, giving them an IPad is so much easier.
Question now is, do we really want easy? Or, do we want right? As for me, I like things to be in their proper place. I think of God’s House as Holy ground, and I would like to see things done differently. I think church is church. And, I think those who go to church should have the mind for church. Coming as you are should not be perpetual. Once you go the first time, and you see that there is a certain protocol, the way they dress, the way service is carried, something should click up in the brain that says “Ok, this is what is expected when I come into the house of God”.
Tennessee Days: A different time; different era. But, respect shouldn’t change. God’s Word doesn’t change. But, people do. They change all the time. Still, I’m not looking to follow people. I’m looking to follow Jesus.
Until our next cup;