Tidbits - September 15, 2015

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TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY

TWO OR THREE....


  You’ve all heard the old expression, “while the preacher’s away, the mice play?”
  No?
  I don’t know how it is with your church, but when our preacher announces he’s not going to be there the next Sunday, our attendance is going to drop on said day.
  Among the “droppees” are people with assigned duties, so someone else fills in at the last moment.
  Our MVP this past Sunday was 11-year-old Jonah McCary.
  Jonah started the service as the acolyte. Then after he put the candle lighter up, he rushed down the aisle to take up our “red bucket” collection, where we collect pocket change to put in our Help Fund.
  He then joined the choir in singing the “Call to Worship.”
  A few minutes later, it was time of the Children’s Sermon, delivered by Jonah’s  mother, Stephanie. Jonah came down from the choir and was the only member of the “congregation” until little Hayes Shealy ran down the aisle a little later.
  After the Children’s Sermon, Jonah rushed to choir to take part in the anthem, “It is Well with My Soul.”
  When it came time for the offering, none of our announced ushers were there, so Stephanie got up and Jonah came out of the choir to join her in taking up the collection.
  He returned to the choir, and during the last hymn, he came down from the choir to extinguish the flames as acolyte.
  I told Jonah after the service he “earned his salary.”
  Normally, Jonah’s older brother Jacob would be able to help out with some of the duties Jonah handled, but he was running our sound system from the balcony!
  So, let’s hear it for the young folks, particularly Jonah and Jacob!
  By the way, the last time Stephanie had the Children’s Sermon, she gave out Slim Jims as the prize for the kids.
  She had an extra one, so she gave it to me.
  I’ll be totally honest. I don’t think I had eaten a Slim Jim on ten or 15 years or longer.
  For my afternoon snack, I peeled back the wrapper and devoured the “delicacy.”
  The next day I went into a store and discovered they sold shorter Slim Jims in packs of 14. I bought a box and have been eating a Slim Jim every day since that Children’s Sermon!
  Sunday, Stephanie gave out brownies shaped and decorated to look like footballs. Thanks goodness, she did not give me one.
  I hate more people weren’t at church Sunday, because we had a great speaker, retired United Methodist minister John Culp.
  John was the founder of the UMC’s Salkehatchie summer project, where youth join adult leaders in refurbishing dilapidated housing.
  He was serving a church in the Salkehatchie region of the state and saw the poverty and the substandard housing, and decided something had to be done.
  Salkehatchie will have its 40th anniversary in two years. Since it began, Salkehatchie has had 50,000 youths repair 5600 houses at a cost of $15 million, all of it done through volunteer effort and contributions.
  “It only takes a spark to get a fire burning.”
  John told a hilarious story at the beginning of his sermon.
  When he was on seminary at Emory University in Atlanta, he and his wife, who owned a dog,  lived next door to another couple, who owned a pet rabbit.
  On day he looked out his window and saw his dog in his neighbors’ yard and it had the rabbit in his mouth and was shaking it back and forth.
  He rushed and retrieved the deceased rabbit, brought it inside and cleaned it up as much as possible, and went back to the neighbors’ yard and put the rabbit back in its cage.
  A few hours later, he saw his neighbors gathered around the rabbit cage, looking very concerned.
  So, he went out to them and said, “What’s the matter?”
  The husband answered, “Our rabbit died a couple of days ago and we buried it. We can’t figure how it got back in the cage!”



JUST A FLICKER OR TWO

  The Friday before Labor Day was also our Monday because of the holiday, but it was also our Friday. Get the drift?
  If you recall, Friday was the day the Hurricane, and its rain and wind, passed through.
  I print two church bulletins on Friday morning, Emory’s and Saluda Presbyterian’s. Normally, I print them one at a time, but Friday morning the lights started flickering , so I decided I better rush and get the bulletins printed before we lost power.
    So, in my infinite wisdom, I printed both “insides” of the bulletins, then flipped them over and printed  both outsides.
  I print 20 more Emory bulletins than SPC, but I got the number backwards and ended up with 20 bulletins with Emory insides and Saluda Presbyterian outsides.
  Thank goodness I caught it, or there would have been 20 confused people at one of the churches!
  The flickering lights also did some weird damage to one of our printers and one page of the paper.
  The page could not be saved to our network, so Jackie had to file it on a thumb drive.
  I laid out the page on Monday at home with no problem, but when it came to email the page to our printer in Tuesday, it would not allow me to convert it to a .PDF.
  I spent almost two hours trying everything to get it to work. Finally, I found an old page from 2011 and transferred everything from the corrupted page and it worked, thank goodness.
  All we could figure is the page got corrupted during that brief time the lights flickered.
  That shows what a little flicker can do to technology!

THE LIGHT

  If you’ve ever been to Emory, you know we have stained glass windows of “The Last Supper” behind the pulpit.
  For night services, we have a light in the prayer garden that illuminates the middle window,which features Jesus. The other panels are not lit.
  During revival a few weeks ago, Rev. Jerry Pickens was preaching and Jesus was lit behind him, as usual.
  He started talking about the Last Supper and when he said, “Judas was counting his money,” I suddenly noticed the window panel with Judas was lit, and you could easily see his bag of silver!
  Only the people sitting on the left side of the church could see this. On the right side, the panel was not illuminated.
  I’m sure there is a logical explanation.....

EARTHQUAKES

  I got a Facebook message from Brenda Dyess Sunday, telling me about all the earthquakes that have occurred in Oklahoma City, where she lives.
  Brenda is the former  Brenda Banks and lived for awhile in Saluda and went to Saluda High. Her family opened the Chuckwagon Restaurant. She met and married her first husband Billy McCary here.
  Ironically, I heard from Brenda Sunday afternoon, and “60 Minutes” featured a segment on the Oklahoma earthqaqkes Sunday night.
  All of the earthquakes are manmade.

HEARTBREAKER

  It breaks my heart to see that one of Saluda County’s great churches, Trinity Lutheran, will be closing it doors soon.
  Trinity has served Saluda County since 1837.
  Many churches are struggling now. Will there be more to close?
  As you go to bed Saturday night, I ask you to think about your church and if it is worth saving.
  If many of us get up and go to church, maybe we’ll bring a revival to Saluda County, our state and nation.
  Maybe, we’ll save the church that touched our lives for so many years.
  Will you get up, or will you sleep in again and lock the door?