CAMDEN By Richard Merritt
I have many fond memories from childhood. Many childhood memories were experiences I had at church, on the way to church, on the way home from church or getting ready to go to church.
We got in the car and drove into town to Trinity Missionary Baptist Church on the Old Wire Road.
Old memories are so sweet we often desire to live them again. Moses’ sermon to Israel served to remind them of past experiences and gave them instructions concerning how to follow God’s will.
“And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.” (Deuteronomy 8:2 KJV)
When we got to church, a man got up to lead the singing. A lady went to play the piano. The number of the song was announced, we all held our hymnals and the singing was lusty. We stood once in a while and mostly not for the whole song.
It was time when the whole family went to church. I mean they went to church—not just once in a while but religiously. We had a church family that we saw a lot more than our extended family.
When the offering was taken, the money piled up in the offering plate.
I remember watching one of the ushers take out his billfold and put his money in the plate during the prayer. I remember a special older gentleman that seemed to pray forever. We all groaned (the young people) when the preacher called on him to close in prayer. He prayed from five minutes to fifteen or more.
The preacher was a God-called man who believed what he preached. He gave God’s gospel message with a passion that could not have been faked. His faith was real.
The older ladies with the lacy handkerchiefs would dab their eyes as the preacher preached about sin, repentance, forgiveness and the joy of knowing Jesus.
The men hung their hats on pegs on the wall by the door when they entered. Everyone wore their Sunday best.
It was not a happy time until the weeping, praying, repenting and rededicating was finished. Then the joy of a gracious God that loved sinners enough to forgive them went with us out the door and followed us throughout the week.
We didn’t go to church to have fun, we went to draw near to God, to learn more about Him and to get right with Him. Other than some of the young people, no one rushed out to get away from the Lord’s house. We lingered to visit with one another.
Like with Israel, God wants us to remember who He is and what He has done. Moses preached that God would humble them, prove their faithfulness and test their obedience.
When I was young, people were humble enough to bow their head to pray, close their eyes and pour out their heart to God. The prayers were from the heart—not memorized or written out. When we left, we knew we had been with Jesus.
I feel sad for the families today that have never experienced old fashioned true worship like it used to be.
At Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, we still make memories every Sunday by the teaching and preaching of the Word, by God at work among us and through our response to Him. We still sing hymns out of the hymnbook, pray, focus on God and learn Bible truth.
If you would like to relive old fashioned worship in the truth, it can still be found at Trinity. Try true worship according to the old paths, I’m sure you’ll like it.
(Merritt is the pastor at Trinity Missionary Baptist Church.)