My favorite church sermons are on my mind because I must make some major life decisions soon. While I am no stranger to sin, the pastors get the same attention I gave the professors in school. Like I tell the kids on my block, you might as well learn something if you are going to be at church or school anyway. Have you seen the alarming dropout rates for schools…..and church.
At the funeral of our political science professor, the pastor said that our grave markers will likely have the day we were born and the day we died with a dash in between the two dates. The dash….it’s all about that dash. Everything we do on earth is in that dash. Someone else once said that life is God’s gift to you and what you do with that life is your gift back to him.
The lady pastor at my Methodist church once said that she hears some many people praying and pleading “God they need you over here…Father they need you over there.” She said she imagines God is thinking, “Why do you think I put you down there…go see about it then come back and tell me what you did to fix it.”
The former pastor at the First African Baptist Church hit me with this pearl of wisdom. He said people find justifications for worldly actions and dress up their activities but when he was in the “world” he knew he was in the world doing wrong. I like that.
As a former altar boy, the communion service is in my memory. The Call to Communion begins, “Ye that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbors and intend to lead a new life following the commandments of God…” I talk vows, oaths and pledges seriously if not literally so I often skipped going down for communion if I had some fun or partying planned. Our current pastor says “intend” means intends so there is some flex there.
During communion, a prayer states that we are sorry for “our misgivings that we have commended against your divine majesty in thoughts, words and deeds.” Since beliefs from church should reflect in our daily actions, the “thoughts, words and deeds” part has always fascinated me. People in politics can think or say something but what did you do; what were your deeds because actions speak louder than words. On the other hand, people can conveniently interpret the Bible to account for everything from slavery to ugly political attacks.
One favorite faith message wasn’t a sermon but the Shug Avery song in the movie Color Purple. God is trying to tell you something and you might not want to hear it. Someone once said that God answers pray but sometimes the answer is no…however it’s in your best interest. Garth Brooks had a song called “Unanswered Prays” and it’s a rural classic. People are always joking about sinners in church and pastors needing to get those messages on the streets and corners but we all have our crosses to bear.
I had the best time sitting under a 100-year-old oak tree and listening to my cousins in Ty Ty, Georgia today. While I left before the barbeque was served, I got fed with that knowledge and wisdom from family.
Unanswered Prayers (cover)