Sunday, July 29, 2012
The first Methodist Church I remember attending some 57 years ago still stands out there in the middle of nowhere. The Pierce Chapel Methodist Church is located not too far from Laura Walker State Park which is near Waycross, Georgia. Though the church building is just as small as it was when I was seven, you no longer have to drive through the creek to get there. Most of the roads which take you to it are paved now. The bathrooms are in the building instead of down a dirt path. We started attending after my Father was buried in the church cemetery where the membership has grown far more than the one of the living pew sitters kept by the preacher.
We usually went on Sunday night. I started learning to sing sacred songs back then. The Cokesbury Hymnal was the only song book used. When I attended, the Methodist Hymnal had not yet found its way to that sanctuary. Some of the songs I sang back then I still carry with me in the place where memory stores important stuff. I also started learning to read the Bible. Each Sunday evening there was a scripture memorization moment when the children would stand before the congregation and recite a verse learned during the week.
My memories of Pierce Chapel are probably better than reality. The passing of years can work that kind of miracle in many different areas of our lives. But, I have often wished that the children of our day could have that kind of experience. I have often lamented in sermon that children no longer are learning and singing the great songs of the faith and are storing very little scripture in the memory bank of the heart. Their faith can only be diminished by something which is not really their fault, but mine....and maybe, yours.