Thursday, January 04, 2007

CHURCH STORIES...She Eventually Arose From the Grave!

When I first moved to Memorial I was 30 and eager to prove to the congregation I had what it took to be "their next great man". They had recently fired the previous preacher and I was bent on impressing all.

It wasn't long until two large sisters responded to one of my mega-powerful pleas for salvation and they were simultaneously moved to be baptized. The first sister fainted once she arose from the grave. The baptistery curtains were already closed and I scrambled trying to figure how to hide the body of the stranger who just now (I believed) had died in my arms. I could not recall us covering this in preaching school. No onlookers would help; each was frozen in stunning shock! Yep, she was dead all right!

Draped over my body, the lady was twice my size and I began to edge her soaked remains toward the steps (I had to dispose of her somehow; yet, she was way too big to hide) as the water began to slosh. In fierce and understandable panic, the noise of sloshing water (I felt) was tipping my hand to the audience on the other side of the curtains that preacher-murder had just been committed. I couldn't keep a simple thing like a baptized woman alive and now I couldn't even keep the fickle water quiet.

Drenched in inconsolable fright, I broke out in uncontrollable laughter because the setting was too much! A dead woman in my arms....I sent her directly to heaven and she never even got to have communion. I felt sure once the elders learned of this lady's death, we'd most assuredly have to have an elder's meeting. I would never be able to explain this one away.

Ultimately, to my great thrill, she came to about ten minutes later. I did baptize her sister next...but not without hesitation....from both of us.

What story do you have to share?

15 comments:

Bill said...

Dear fellow-blogger,

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contactus[at]thespiritualoasis.org.

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Anonymous said...

You crack me up. I hadn't heard you share that story yet...

During college I preached about twice a month for a very small church in Deer Creek, Oklahoma. I think if everyone was there we had 12 (including me and Alice when she would visit).

One Sunday evening one of the family's daughters, who was home for a holiday, decided to be baptized. I would guess it had been several years since that baptistry had been used, although they faithfully kept it full and clean.

I took off my shoes and pulled on the waders, which were very used to their folded over position. Cracks formed. I became a concerned member.

I stepped into the water.

The waders disintegrated. Water found its way through every crack.

That water was not warm, either.

The guy who was back there with me said, "Well, I guess it's time to buy some new waders."

"Yep."

I finished the service in the sweat pants I wore at the house that afternoon...

Big Mac said...

On a cold winter day many years ago, I baptized a young man after the assembly, because he was too shy to do it in front of the assembly. The problem we found was that there was no baptismal clothes except for one pair of pants, which was too small for either of us. Since no one else was there, we locked the building, and I wore the pants and he wore his undershorts, while I baptized him. That water must have been about 32.5 degrees. Like, I mean COLD man!!!!! That young brother was very happy to be released from that cold watery grave One's dedication is to be admired in such a case, but it is kind of chilly for the preacher. Good Blog, we appreciate you a bunch.pkpbd

Anonymous said...

I was holding a meeting in a little New Mexico mountain church. I noticed the first night of the meeting that instead of water in the baptistery was a large mouse (or rat) trap with bait. On night number two of the meeting, right in the middle of my lesson, I heard the "pop" of the mouse trap behind me. For the last 10 minutes of my lesson I listened to the screeching and crying of a dieing rat.

I've had to compete with crying babies and other disruptions, but never a dieing rat in the baptistery.

Anonymous said...

In Portugal, we got a call at the church office that someone was going to be baptized later that morning so we went down stairs and took the very heavy lid off the baptistry. To our shock we discovered the upstairs toilets had backed up into the baptistry. It was FULL!

As AIMers, we were the low men on the totum pole and had to clean it up. Thankfully, I didn't draw the short straw and have to be the one to fish the cork out of the bottom.

Ah Bruce, I still hurt for you when I remember you, sleeves rolled up, searching for the plug.

Anonymous said...

Do you remember McGuigan's story about baptizing a guy that was somehow so shocked by the cold water that he came up shouting obscenities (SP?) so he dunked him again?!

Terry Rush said...

Guys,

I don't usually make comments back to you, but I've laughed 'til I've cried.

The first time I ever heard "Baptism Hilarities" was in 1976 listening in on Phil Powers, Albert Hill, and Pat Casey tell 'em. I spewed, sputtered, choked, and had about seven asthma attacks...they were so funny.

You guys are hilarious, as well!

DJG said...

Thanks guys, I needed a good laugh this morning!

Anonymous said...

Growing up as a pk, most of my memories are of my sisters and I laughing uncontrollably during a sermon, pew shaking, getting "the look" from Dad. For some reason things are just funnier when you're not supposed to laugh. One Sunday evening during the closing prayer in a small church with tile floors, I was fidgeting with my ring when it flew off my finger and began a slow descent toward the front of the auditorium. Being wide and heavy, the perfectly balanced ring slowly and loudly continued its trek. The echo was deafening. Finally reaching the communion table, it toddled like a top for what seemed an eternity. I don't know who was more embarrassed, me or Dad, but my sisters got a good laugh out of it.

Gilbert Kerrigan said...

I grew up in a small church (70 or so), but when I was in college I attended a church of about 1500. My campus minister asked me and two other guys to tagteam preach one Sunday night. We all agreed.

Well, as he was introducing us we all went up to the stage and attempted to (all three) sit on the same little love-seat sized pew on stage. I'm not a big guy, but the other two played a little football in college.

We all three sat at the same time, trying to squeeze into this pew. All of a sudden this extremely loud clanging noise boomed through the speakers in the auditorium. Everyone was cringing and covering their ears. As we were squeezing into this little pew a large piece of the pew broke off of the side and landed on the hard floor. Their mics were so good it picked up every little bit of that wood hitting the floor.

When it was finally my turn to preach I got up and said, "Well, I shouldn't have anything to be nervous about. It can't get any worse than breaking a pew. It is all up hill from here."

Anonymous said...

My parents were very guarded about letting me go to summer camp as a teenager....I have no idea why! ;o>
But the first year they finally let me go I thought it was just the coolest thing. So I followed suit of the other, older girls in the youth group. It was our Sunday morning to leave right after worship. We couldn't concentrate on anything else other than getting the sermon overwith and getting on that bus to a long awaited ride to Pettyjohn! Well...I, along with a couple of girls decided to slip out of service early and go to the bathroom and put on our campin' clothes so we would be ready and first on the bus. I SOOO wanted to make a good impression. So we change back in the baptisty area and walk out. My hands are full of my stuff, a HUGE bag on my shoulder and a certain piece of my undergarmet that I took off decided to be wrapped around my foot. Here I am...walking around the church with my 3 letter undergarment stringing along behind me until finally...not a kid...not a friend...not a mother...but an ELDER...AN ELDER I SAY....pointed out to me that I may want to look down at my shoe when I get a chance. By this moment, I was standing bright eyed and beet red in the face as I stand in the middle of the auditorium as service had just let out. Lord...couldn't it just have been toilet paper??? Sheesh!

Dusty said...

My story is so bad, I can't tell it all. What I can say is that I found myself staring directly into the bare bottom of a very large man - and pushing as hard as I could to get him out of the water!

Stoogelover said...

Back in the days when people went down to the river or creek to baptize, my grandmother told of a man being baptized one Sunday morning in the Tennessee River at the bend of the river by Sheffield, Alabama. The river is known for its abundance of cotton mouths. When the man was brought up out of the water, a cottom mouth was swimming straight for them, and they were a little ways out from the shore. He got all excited, started stuttering badly, exclaiming, "S-s-s-s-s-s-son of a b-b-b-b-b-b ...., somebody get that s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-nake!" The snake swam by them and the preacher stuck him under again.

I was baptizing an elder's son in Florida years ago ... a man known for his drinking and drugging. The baptistry had wooden covers over the steps at each end, and a screen cover sat above the water's surface, resting on those wooden covers. They said it kept down the evaporation. Anyway, we removed the cover from the men's dressing room side, but not the women's side. As I started to put him under the water, he resisted a little and we got too close to the women's side. I nailed his head on that wooden cover as he went down. He let out a "Humph!" as he went under, losing all his breath. Now that he was under water and no breath, he was fighting me to come up. As I brought him up, he hit his head on the underside of the same wooden cover! The congregation lost it at that poing ... and it was a LONG time before anyone wanted me to baptize them at that church.

Anonymous said...

Terry, what's even funnier than your story is the mental picture I get of you back behind the curtain and then bursting into laughter! Thanks!! I needed a good laugh today!! love you!

Anonymous said...

Terry:
One doesn't have to wonder why I love you. I am laughing out loud in Memphis, MO. I have too many stories to tell of my "adventures" growing up in church with a mother who has played the organ for over 50 years. Many a time we kids were left in a pew by ourselves (which was not a good thing). I can tell you quickly that it was a good thing the pews were not cushioned like they are today:) (Details later over coffee at Keith's Cafe!) Dani Fromm