Thursday, January 28, 2010

Softly and Tenderly

Knotts Island Methodist Church, 2003

When he was in his 70s, having completed two careers, outlived two wives and fifteen years into life with a third, my grandfather studied for the ministry and served this country church. He’d grown up on the small coastal barrier island where it is located. Many of the parishioners shared our last name or were related to him. His return to the island was greeted with great acclaim.

My grandfather would occasionally press my father and uncle, into visiting the church to sing with him and the aging choir. They were both talented singers who led their own church choirs. Our families would be bundled into the car for the morning drive down through the coastal marshes and across the causeway that connected the island to the mainland. Then, after all the cousin’s faces were scrubbed, we were told to sit quietly in the same pews that our ancestors had used in the little church sanctuary. In time, the organ would begin to wheeze and groan under Mrs. Hardy’s hands and my grandfather would step up to the pulpit. I don’t remember a single word of any sermon he ever preached. But to this day I can still see the pride in his eyes when his two sons joined him to sing one of those good old Methodist hymns, their voices calling the small country congregation to the altar, lifting their souls and inspiring them to continue their quest for life everlasting.

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,

Calling for you and for me;

See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching.

Watching for you and for me.

Come home, come home,

You who are weary come home;

Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling

Calling, O sinner, come home!

1 comment:

  1. What a great post! And wonderful memories. I'm so glad you got this fabulous photo of that church.