Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday Church for a Little Boy

This is how we started our day, when I was a child. Church was something to endure, to get over. My father would get ready first and wait for my mother and I to get with it.

I had a little suit and child sized neckties. Who invented neckties? A ridiculous item that men torment themselves with. My white shirt's top button was always too tight. I had a regular sized head but a rather large neck. I felt like my eyes would bulge as it strangled me. Worst of all my Sunday shoes. We walked quite a ways to church and I often got a blister.

Here are my memories of what, to me, was a boring ordeal. A bulletin had the following items "Please rise and sing hymn #____, Offering...Sermon...

Early on we had a preacher who did not like white bread. He preferred corn bread. "Eating white bread is like standing under the Moon and letting it shine into your mouth." Come to think of it, I did learn something at church--cornbread is good.

To continue, when the offering plate was passed, my father would put in his envelope with serial number attached. It had a stub like a bank check for a record. My father gave so much that he got audited by the IRS. His preacher testified on his behalf.

Offerings were quickly tallied and the amount, with the day's attendance, was posted on a bulletin board. I sat, bored, folding down my bulletin. Only two more lines to go!

After the sermon, there were "responsive readings" which we intoned together. To me, they were meaningless. As I remember, then we had a "processional", where the robed choir filed out of the loft and down the aisle. Maybe a man in a "frock" and lace curtain, swinging a censer, would have made it more "holy".

Soon it was time for me to run ahead home, grab the Sunday paper off the porch, take off the horrible clothes and put on my everyday cruddy clothes. Now I could forget the hard bench and lie on the floor and read my beloved comics.

Dwight Long in Seven Seas on a Shoestring tells of going to church on a Pacific island in his tennis shoes and shorts. The locals thanked him for not dressing up as "the white men do".

What a day for a little boy--ceremony, absent content. My father never read the Bible with me, not once. No one did.

Once he passed a letter to me at breakfast. He was so proud. A boy in India was thanking his church for the help they had given him. I handed it back without reading it. "What about me, Dad?" Missions were more important than a son.

We never had a Bible study or even a talk. That was for the experts, far too deep for common folk.

Soon it was time for the baseball game, maybe a nap. I came to despise Sunday-only religion.

How did I become a Christian, learn to love Jesus and his wonderful Word? It took a miracle. But then, it always does.

No comments:

Post a Comment