I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love.
I love to tell the story, because I know 'tis true;
it satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.
Refrain: I love to tell the story,
'twill be my theme in glory,
to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.
This past Sunday we sang a favorite hymn of mine. I love those good old Red/Green hymnal LBW songs. Those ones you grew up with. Those ones so familiar. Those ones that bring a flood of memories back when you hear/sing them again.
Last Sunday Mark, the twinners and I sat in our air conditioned pew at Peace Lutheran in the middle of Coon Rapids. But, as we closed the worship with "I Love to Tell the Story," I was transported back to Trinity Lutheran, in the middle of the country, among the corn and bean fields, along a gravel road in Brookfield Township.
Last Sunday it was VERY hot and VERY humid. I was wearing a cotton sundress. I was flooded with distant images of me... a little girl, wearing a summer dress, with short, permed, curly hair...
I remember when it was hot you kind of stuck to the pew at church. They didn't have cushions, and there was no A/C. We ALWAYS sat on the right hand side if you faced the alter. We always sat near the front. Usually the Kurth's were in front of us. My mom always wore a dress too. All the stained glass windows would be wide open, and there would be extra fans on. The flowers on the alter would be from a parishioner's garden. If it was June, they would be huge pink PEE-OHH-NEES (peonies).
Outside the bees would be buzzing. The cemetery was just beyond the church. Church members took turns all summer long mowing everything. When it was our family's week, my dad would load the John Deere lawnmower onto a cart, pulled by the pick-up, and drop it off at church for my mom to use later. Families teamed up to mow the lawn and cemetery. We also took turns cleaning the church.
I was reminded of vacation bible school, and what fun that week was, playing "To Late for Supper" at lunch time outside, and riding the bell rope up and down to call the kids back in. I remember class and crafts in the basement (There were partitions pulled into place on wheels and drapes to divide the basement into classrooms), and singing upstairs. My mom use to bring here sterio and speakers from home for the week, for the kids to sing too. The music was on tape. I remember the Sunday VBS program and the benches outside, which we made into teeter-totters after the service. I remember the big pot-luck dinner, fun games that followed, and lots of candy on VBS Sunday. I remember Kool-Aid at bible school. My mom always made the Kool-Aid. She said some of the other ladies watered it down too much for her taste. She liked it sugary sweet.
I remember Pastor Burman. He was a wonderful man and gave wonderful sermons. Even though I was a kid, this still sticks with me. I remember the massive pipe organ in the front of the church, and Gayle or Diane playing it. I remember their tiny little mirror attached in front of them, so they could see the congregation behind them while they played. The small congregation spent a lot of money to keep this beautiful instrument in working order.
I remember the green carpet up the center aisle, and the kneelers at the alter on communion Sunday once a month. I remember when we actually had a common cup (before my own confirmation, as there was no first communion).
I remember we did not have "fellowship/coffee hour" at Trinity, but the men of the congregated gathered in the narthex and on the front steps to chat after church, while the women stayed inside the sanctuary (or headed to the basement for Sunday School in the fall and winter).
I remember the petunias planted in the circle beneath the church sign out front. In the spring, members were asked to donate a box or two each to fill the area.
I remember the white wood siding that was eventually replaced for sturdy, long lasting, economical steel siding.
I remember the steeple, rising from the quiet prairie.
I remember Grace Horky, who lived adjacent to the church and made cakes for many.
and 'I Love to Tell the Story'.