We visited a small country church on Sunday. Two miles off the pavement on a gravel road stood the building, kept in good shape over the years. Inside was what we used to call “a goodly number” (probably 40 or so people). The only technology was a microphone attached to the speaker’s lapel. Most of the men and young men wore suits or shirts with ties. Things were simple and friendly. The sermon was done by one of about nine who take turns preaching each week. The singing was good, and loud. The leader seemed shy; certainly not performing. During “announcements” several were mentioned who were sick or traveling. One gentleman was at an orientation for the Honor Flight to Washington D.C., which meant he was a veteran going to view the monument to his service and fallen brethren.
Something else about this setting took me back a few years. The hardwood floor echoed each step taken; there was no carpet on the floor. Wooden pews with no padding kept me alert. The two of us being visitors, we attracted a line of greeters afterward, with “we’re glad you’re here” repeated over and over by each. Names were exchanged and a welcome to return came freely.
The thing worth remembering about this visit was not only gathering for worship, but that these houses of worship are scattered over the hills and valleys, and will continue to do so, as evidenced by the number of young people present. They have been taught the things that matter, and will likely keep teaching those things to their children. Though a lot of things change, some change very slowly, not forgetting to keep what is good, beautiful and virtuous.