I hope you had a wonderful time with your family on Easter. At Bluebell Baptist we had about the best Easter service I can remember havin’. Brother Bobby has been visitin’ with the deacons and I reckon their hard work is payin’ off, because the church house was pret’ near full. We would have had to set chairs in the aisle, except that a lot of us went to the sunrise service up at Vista View Park.
Every year a different preacher leads the Easter sunrise service and usually if one of the pastors has come since last year they draft the new one. If a new preacher hasn’t come since last year, I don’t know what they do. Probably cast lots or some such.
Anyway, as usual your Uncle Orley and I got up about the time we used to when we were still milkin’ cows, and got dressed and drove up to the park for the sunrise service. It was a sight to behold! Orley says there were 63 of us all standin’ kinda in a big huddle. Orley’s counted folks at Bluebell so long it’s just second nature to him now.
We were standin’ there in the gray dawn lookin’ over the dark valley when all of a sudden like the sun peaked over the distant mountain and flooded us with light. It was like something you might expect to see in a movin’ picture show and just when we were peerin’ at the sun lookin’ like a crown of light Elaine Johnson, the chorus teacher down at the high school, sang out real loud and clear and with no music, “Was it a morning like this?” I can still hear it. “Was it a morning like this, When the Son still hid from Jerusalem? And Mary rose from her bed, To tend the Lord she thought was dead.” I’ll tell you, Jimmy, it wasn’t the cool breeze that sent shivers up our spines that mornin.
These old eyes of mine don’t shed tears at the drop of a hat like they used to, but I’ll tell you the truth, I had rivers runnin’ down my cheeks. Everything worked together to make it near perfect. Right up to the time the preacher got up to speak.
Now, I’m not takin’ issue with the Almighty. His ways are not our ways, and if the good Lord put it in that man’s mind to say the things he did, I reckon I’ll just have to figure out what I’m supposed to get out of it. But I’ve always kinda had a notion that sometimes congregations hear what they do ‘cause the preacher wasn’t listenin’ or for some reason the Lord wasn’t sayin’ anything and the preacher had to come up with somethin’ on his own.
I don’t mean to be critical of the man, but on Easter I figure the sermon is goin’ to be about the resurrection of Jesus. Maybe I’ve gotten way too set in my ways. Too predictable you might say. But either the Lord or that preacher, one, shocked me ‘cause he took right in about how the devil was tryin’ to wreck the church by havin’ all these modern Bible translations made up.
He just carried on about how modern translations came from the Greek that couldn’t be trusted and that the King James Version came from pure Greek that goes back to what the Bible writers actually said. Well, I was more than a mite disappointed ‘cause with such a perfect start I was expecting somethin’ different. But, Orley, my goodness sakes alive, he was a-fussin’ and a-fumin’ all the way from the park to Bluebell Baptist where we had our second helpin’ of worship.
Your uncle was downright uncharitable in his feelin’s toward that preacher. He said the man ought never to worry about bitin’ off more than he could chew, ‘cause with a mouth like that he could handle about anything that came his way.
Now, I love the King James Bible. When I was just a little tyke my Granny moved in with us and near every mornin’ she would have a Bible verse copied out by hand for us children to memorize. Why, I can still recite a whole passel of those verses and all are from the King James, which is the only Bible we had back in those days.
But as precious as it is to me, there are times when I just have to scratch my head and wonder what I just read. I reckon like everything else, the way we talk changes. If you need proof of that try listenin’ to a teenager. Seems to me we have enough trouble getting’ people these days to realize that faith in Jesus is not old-fashioned and outdated without tellin’ them they got to read a Bible with a 400-year-old way of talkin’.
Well, by the time we had finished dinner I was right much over the park sermon, but Orley was still a-talkin’ about what a sorry Easter sermon it was and he was goin’ to get on his computer and find out what that preacher was goin’ on about. I just stayed clear of him. I learned a long time ago that if you’re fixin’ to dance with a bull, you’d better let him lead.
He’s still in there and I hear him every now and again make some comment to hisself about the preacher bein’ blind in one eye and not able to see out of the other. From what I’ve gathered, some of the words used back in those olden times just don’t mean the same thing anymore, like “prevent.” To us it means to keep something from happenin’ but to them it meant to go before.
He’s tellin’ me now that those scientists that dig through ancient ruins have discovered things that tell Bible professors what some words meant. Before that they were guessin’.
Well, I need to close, but I figure let folks read whatever Bible that best helps them know what God wants them to do. For goodness sakes, it looks like one of these days Christians would figure out that fightin’ about the Bible is a pretty good sign that we’ve missed an important part of its message.
Come see us when you can. You know where the key is.
Love as always, Aunt Ida