Proverbs 31:12 “She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
Yes, we had indeed “moved on up to the eastside”…the eastside of Cleveland, that is, to the region known as The Hills. What a beautiful place this was! Not only was the church a thriving, growing church in the suburbs, but it also had an absolutely gorgeous parsonage! We thought we “had died and gone to heaven” when we moved in! Especially after living in that big old house with the mice and the smelly cellar and the putting up with the alarms, sirens, whistles and bells…this would be divine! But we were soon to discover the truth of that old saying, “All that glitters is not gold.” (“The Merchant of Venice”, Shakespeare, 1596)
We had come fresh from the country, where people weren’t quite so “up-tight” about their “religion”. We were soon to discover that some of our new church people were the real puritanical, narrow-minded type, who had been schooled in some rather “pharisaical” teachings prior to our arrival. We had only moved sixty miles in the same state, so who would’ve thought that people could be so different?
This was back before contemporary Christian music was used or even considered acceptable in the church services. Once in a while during a youth rally or vacation Bible school or some other such program they might allow some praise choruses to be sung instead of the traditional hymns. Well, here was this dear lady, whom I will call “Eve”, who was immediately my kindred spirit. “Eve” loved to sing and play the guitar, which I thought was just great! So she encouraged me to help her lead the singing on Sunday night and convinced my husband that it would be just fine. We stood up in front of the church, with “Eve” playing the guitar and me leading the people to sing choruses such as “Allelu, Allelu, Allelu, Alleluia, Praise ye the Lord!” Now, if you are familiar with this chorus, the idea is to divide the congregation into two sides, and have one half stand up and sing the first part, the “alleluia’s”, and then sit down, while the other side stands up and sings “Praise ye the Lord!” This goes back and forth rather rapidly until the end of the song when both sides stand up and loudly sing ‘Praise ye the Lord” together! Simple little song, full of the joy of the Lord, right? Sure! IF the PEOPLE are full of the joy of the Lord!
We sang a few more such songs, and I was wondering why some people just didn’t seem to be getting in the “spirit” of this singing, and were actually glowering at us from their seats with very squinty eyes and crossed arms. I was having too much fun and also too ignorant to realize that I had just stepped on some very prim and proper toes a bit too much! Ouch! The next morning my husband had a line of weeping and wailing women at his study door telling him that they did not like any such singing and that they would not “have a three ring circus” at their church and that I had better not ever do that again! Wow! When he told me what they had said I told him that I would NOT stay at a church where the people felt that way, and that I was too embarrassed to ever show my face again, and that since I hadn’t even yet unpacked all of our boxes we could just pack them back up and move on to someplace else right away! Poor guy! He really had his work cut out for himself at this place…both with the congregation…and with ME!
I wish I could say that I did every thing properly and correctly from then on…but it wasn’t too long after that we had a church social of some kind, and I was helping to serve the beverages to the people. As I went from person to person with my tray of beverages, I came to one of the Elders of the church, another rather “narrow” personage in my opinion, and for some silly reason the only thing that I could think of to say when I offered him a beverage was “would you like coffee, tea, or ME?” Now where did THAT come from? Some movie I had seen somewhere, I guess… I wanted to just fall through the floor and die right there! The look on his face was total shock and then much to my relief, he actually rather blushingly smiled and laughed and said “Wow! I guess I’d better have the coffee!” He kindly helped me get over my embarrassment by not making me feel too stupid. And for that I was very grateful.
I recently discovered a verse that I wish I had known years ago. It could have saved my husband and myself many embarrassing moments. “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3.This verse coupled with my most unforgettable Psalm would make an excellent prayer for every woman when she awakens each morning. The unforgettable verse is Psalm 19:14…
A woman who earnestly desires before God to say the acceptable words and think the acceptable thoughts will be more likely to do good for her husband (and herself!) and not evil all the days of her life.
Thank you Lord, for that reminder! I need to plaster it on my forehead or some place visible every day! Oh, and by the way, “Eve” and I have remained friends to this very day. I can’t even remember who the “weeping and wailing” women were! I think some of them have gone on to their “final reward” (maybe).
Now that I've confessed some of my most embarrassing moments...how about YOU? Have you ever wished the floor would open up and swallow you? C'mon...'fess up! It's good for the soul!!! :)