Her name was Harriet, she was young, still in high school. She asked to speak to the congregation of our little church. She stood before us and began to speak. "I am a sinner who was saved. Thank God my sins are forgiven. I am so thankful that Jesus has saved me."
We were shocked. How dare anyone, especially anyone so young, say they were saved? We knew that a lot of good works had to be piled up for a person to be saved. Even then, it might not be enough. We were supposed to be working on our salvation, all of us. Giving money was good, attending church was very important. I got a little white Bible for perfect attendance. My dog chewed it up pretty good.
Ours was a small church, but we hoped we would grow. "The church is growing," my father said. So many times that even my sister, who worshipped him, could not stand it. Still, we knew that although there were temporary setbacks, we would eventually save the world.
If we just attended enough meetings, that might do it. Meetings were very important, I still don't know why. Foreign missions were good. The farther away the people, the better.
My father was president of the Sunday School. I remember him, chin on fist, studying the incomprehensible lessons. Years later, after enough people complained, the church admitted it. The lessons were terrible and had to be discontinued. They had been busy work only.
In all this time, my mother was not certain of her own salvation. My father, busy as he was, never knew it.
No wonder, is it, that religion was not for me? I left the church, never to return, not to that denomination. Turns out, Harriet was right, not studying lessons, or endless meetings, were the answer.
It was so simple, I finally found out, Jesus doesn't just do "His part". He does it all.