Thursday, September 20, 2012
The Preacher’s Corner
“Put off thy shoes...thou standest on holy ground”
A few Sundays back when I called for the collection I noted there was a bit of delay in the deacons coming forward to get the offering plates.
I should say that in our church two men always come forward, and I have nothing to do with how these tasks are apportioned. Women also serve as deacons in our congregation but they have steadfastly refused to receive the collection. Why this is, I do not know, but I have left the matter alone.
When women’s liberation trickles down to the receiving of the offering in the Holly Springs Presbyterian Church, I will let you know.
I am just grateful that two people get up and come forward to receive the offering without my having to arrange for it. It is one of the few things I do not have to organize!
As I said, on this particular Sunday there was a bit of delay, as well as some tittering in the back pews.
Afterward I learned that the gentleman who’d agreed to receive the offering had slipped his shoes off and had to scramble to get them on, as I had moved through the announcements quickly and called for the offering sooner than expected!
This gentleman is one of the congregation’s favorites, and I am sure nobody would have minded if he had gathered the collection in his sock feet.
There is some precedent for this. Dr. William F. Mansell, of blessed memory, was the longtime pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Vicksburg. After he retired there, he was interim pastor of our church in Starkville and had some sort of accident or surgery that precluded wearing of shoes.
So for several months Dr. Mansell led worship in Starkville, wearing his ministerial robes, and house slippers!
In my home church, the choir sits in a gallery at the rear of the church. When I was a high schooler and taking my first turns at assisting in worship, I was astounded to be up front and see that during the sermon our minister’s wife, who sang in the choir, was accustomed to kick off her shoes and put her feet up on the choir loft rail and twinkle her toes at her husband!
Let me tell you, those who sit in front of the church get an eyeful. We know who whispers, who doodles on the bulletin, who snoozes…and, in this modern age, who sends and receives text messages during the sermon! Oh well, multi-tasking is all the rage these days.
I’ve decided our deacon was simply imitating Moses, who when he came to the burning bush, heard the Lord say, “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”
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