Friday, August 1, 2008

Grandpa Jerry and St. Paul - Down Home Story

Grandpa Jerry Williams was a great admirer of Saint Paul and would not have invoked the name of the revered apostle deliberately to frighten the wits out of a St. Louis drummer. Besides, Grandpa had to replace the church-yard gate and repair the steeple.

"What did Paul say?"
What Paul said on the subject usually took a solid hour, or a bit more, to relate. Grandpa didn't get many opportunities to atone for his youthful disobedience to God's call, so he made the most of every one.

Despite Grandpa Jerry's scriptural verbosity, he was an imposing figure in the pulpit. He was a large man, tall, with a wild crop of bushy white hair. When he got wound up about Paul, he commanded attention. He voice boomed, and he emphasized his words with thumps on the pulpit.

Folks allowed as how the regular-ordained pastors were easier to take, week-end-week-out. Still, a good dose of Saint Paul now and then purged the soul.

The spiritual home for that little country congregation was about five miles from town. As was the custom, it was left unlocked so passersby could enter for mediation or shelter.
Grandpa Jerry's farm was nearby, and he often went there in the evening, after chores, to look after the church. After mending a window pane, or mowing the grass in the graveyard out front, he would commune with God in the empty sanctuary.

It was on such an occasion during Lent that Grandpa Jerry and the St. Louis salesman encountered each other briefly. Grandpa went to the church that evening to sweep the floor and make sure the hymnals were evenly distributed for Easter Sunday. This done, he lingered to think and pray.

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