I leave early for Sunday morning worship service. Punctuality patterns began as a child.
Father and Mother would not excuse tardiness.
The two mile drive takes only five minutes. I’m one of the first to arrive, and park at the front of the historic Church building. My car is in show-room condition.
Father believed in regular maintenance for all motor vehicles. Prevention saves costly repairs. My 1980 sedan may be outdated, but it serves me well.
Locking the car and stepping up to the handicap ramp, I grip the safety rails and shuffle to double mahogany doors. My arthritic hand reaches for the brass door handle. Autumn morning temperatures are evident by the cold brass against my flesh.
Wish ladies still wore gloves. We’ve lost so many of our cherished traditions. Mother never went to town without her hat and gloves.
“Good Morning Sister Robinson,” said the church custodian.
“Expecting early frost, weather man said.”
“I do hope my shrubbery won’t die. Such pretty blooms this Indian Summer.”
I quietly move from the vestibule to the worship center.
Good, sanctuary is empty. Soon it will be full of noisy children ignored by their gossiping mothers.
Muffled sounds of singing voices capture my attention. The choir meets in an adjacent room.
Don’t recognize that one. Probably another long praise chorus. Guess the old hymns aren’t good enough anymore.
I glance at my wrist watch through bifocals squinting to see the time.
Bible Study should be about finished.
I do a wide visual sweep of the stately room.
Father and Mother donated such beautiful stained glass windows. New carpet color clashes. Nobody cares. Father always sat here, then Mother between us…
Looking at my watch again, I realized ten minutes passed. People filled the sanctuary and the organist played reverently.
“Nice to see you this morning, Ms. Robinson.”
The pastor motioned to a large number of people.
“Right this way.”
“Ms. Robinson, sure you won’t mind. I want these people to have this front pew. They are here to see our baptismal service and need the space. You can sit anywhere.”
This is my seat! I’ve sat here for eighty years! What gall!
He takes me by the arm and quickly lifts me to my feet. Stepping aside I feel faint. A long line of people find seats in the pew my family claimed decades before. With little choice I reluctantly find another place.
Knew that young pastor didn’t belong here. Hmph! Just wait till he wants a big donation!
Our worship hour begins with the baptismal service. Two large families are represented in the congregation to see their children take the step of obedience.
Remember my baptism.
Music fills time until the pastor steps up to the pulpit.
“Today we have seen a beautiful example of children’s simple faith. I hope and pray their parents will lead them in coming years to grow in that faith to strong Christian adults. Join me in the reading of Ephesians 6 verses 1- 3. I’ll be reading today from the traditional King James version.”
Surprises me he’d choose King James.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”
The pastor said, “I chose this as my opening text to honor a very special lady among us. She has applied these commandments to her life. Ms. Robinson also gave up her usual seat to visitors for our baptismal service. Can we get her to stand?”
Waves of applause filled the sanctuary. A young man beside me helped me up and smiled at me as if I were his own cherished grandmother.
“Johnny, bring her up front.”
My escort took my quivering arm and directed me to the altar.
“Church, this fine lady always honored her parents. She gave up an opportunity to teach in a large prestigious university, in order to assist her mom and dad as their health declined. She later refused to place them in a nursing home and cared for them herself until their passing. Each Christmas and Easter she places flowers in our sanctuary to honor them. Gideon Bibles are also given in their memory. Ms. Robinson you are the living proof of our Bible reading.”
He tenderly kisses my forehead, whispering “I love you.”