One of the pleasures of being married to a PK* is that you get the actual "P" in your life.
I hit the lottery with my father-in-law, Pop. He is, besides being a great father, a great advisor, a witty conversationalist, and he doesn't shy away from giving his opinion in a non-offensive, perfectly-timed way.
He was invited back to the first church he every pastored, way back in his pre-seminary days, to give the message on "Homecoming" weekend. Since Mike and his sister weren't even a twinkle in their parent's eyes at the time, he thought it would be fun to have his family join him. Of course, we agreed.
So, this morning, the Nowell clan left Dallas and headed out for the two+ hours it would take to get us to "God's country"**, AKA Redtown, Texas and Tabernacle Baptist Church.
There were so many charming things about our trip that I can't possibly highlight all of them. I love, almost enough to pick up the entire clan and move out to the middle of nowhere, the lack of fuss folks in the sticks make about detail***, pretense, or status. They are genuine, down to the core.
I adored the way the male singer of the special singing group "Grace Trio" said, of Jesus, "They spat on him, they WHOPPED him, they killed him." Only in deep East Texas (or, possibly, Kentucky) would Jesus get a whopping instead of a beating. And the group sang "I Believe He's Coming Back" that included the lyrics "The saints from every nation will lose gravitation."
The bio for Pop stated that "He has severed in churches in Texas and Louisiana". My brother-in-law pointed out that Dad, obviously, had split many congregations right down the middle.****
Even the Hooman found humor in the aptly titled "Heavenly Highway Hymns" placed strategically in the book rack in front of our pew. In all my years in Baptist church, I'd never sung the hymn "When the Roll is Called up Yonder"*****, though Mike tells me it is a gospel standard.
Most definitely, our proudest moment was when Pop stood up to give the message. It was a wonderful sermon on not losing the music in life because you are too focused on the letter of the law. If I hadn't known any better, I'd swear he preached every Sunday to a crowd of people, he was that good.
About the time my butt was starting to fall asleep, somehow The Babe lost his balance and fell off the pew. I think it was because he was doing his best pastor imitation, hands at chest level gesturing wildly, saying everything Pop was saying, just on a delay basis.
Two hours after the service started, we prayed over the food and went to a display of Southern home cooking that would make Paula Deen say "Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit!" Three kinds of mac and cheese, fried chicken, shepherd's pie, peas of every sort and desserts. Oh, the desserts. Pie, cake, pudding, brownies. If you inhaled too much, you would have gained weight!
I counted about 75 people in that little country church in the middle of nowhere. But, there was no way to count the heart that was present. It was obvious these people love each other and pray for one another and are proud of where they serve.
I'm pretty sure Jesus was looking down this morning, proud of his little flock and its pastor leader for the day.
I sure know WE were!
*Preacher's Kid. Yes, they are every bit as bad as the reputation that precedes them.
**One of my friends is fond of saying that land out in the country, where you can actually hear birds and crickets chirp without the aid of a sound machine, is "God's country". The very first sound we heard when I opened the door was crickets.
***I say that as a supreme compliment, without any sarcasm, because the English teacher in me is about nothing but detail and anal-retentive correction of anything that could possibly be construed as grammatically wrong.
****My bro-in-law is the other English geek in the family and noticed the spelling error before I did. Kudos to you!
*****I wonder if it is because most Dallasites have no idea where "Yonder" is?