Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: April 2014


by my friend, Ben

It were the Sunday before Easter when he showed up in town. It were.

The weather being nice an’ all, I reckoned I’d get to town early an’ stop by Reba an’ Charlie’s place to get some of their special country ham an’ eggs for breakfast. I did.
Reba an’ Charlie’s were a little ol’ place what only seated about twenty people, but it were full bout anytime you went in. It was.

As I parked my truck, I saw him standin’ on the wall in the town square. I did. He were standing right in front of that there statue of the Confederate soldier, what reminded folks about that war some ol’ folks still called “The War for Southern Independence.” They did.

I could hear him kinda shoutin’ as he stood there all dressed in black from head to toe. He were. He looked like one a them Long Riders, what I’d seen in them Western Movies. He did. I reckon he didn’t have no guns or nothin’, cause he were holdin’ a big ol’ black book what I were right sure were a Bible. I reckoned I’d drop by an say “Howdy” after I ate my ham n’ eggs. I did.

Now I stood right at six foot two, but with him a standin’ on that there wall, he were quite a towerin’ figure standin’ over me. He were. He were preachin’ about how this prophet said, and that prophet said, an’ in between he’d do a lot a quotin’ them there prophets. He did. What I could hear were how the wrath of the Lord were about to come on all of us. It were. It seems we were all guilty of harlotry, idolatry an’ wickedness, an’ the Lord’s patience were just about to run out. It were.

He were a right imposin’ feller. He were. Some folks took to the other side of the square so they wouldn’t have to come under his words of the comin’ judgement. They did. Ma an’ pa’s pulled their little ones up close, an’ some of them there little ones hid their faces as they walked by. They did.

I knowed he saw me a standin’ there in front a him, cause I saw his eyes move down a little when I walked up. I did. I reckoned maybe he were a tad afraid I might attack him or somethin’. I knowed it wouldn’t take too much of a stretch for some folks here an’ about to run him outta town. I did.

Well, it were gettin’ right on to church time, so I reckoned I’d drop by again after church and see iffen he might like to talk a spell. I did.

After church, next Sunday bein’ Easter an all, Sara Jane an’ her family, along with the Browns an’ the Kentons invited me to go with them over to West Union an’ eat at Mrs McKnight’s Boardin’ House. They did.

As I drove outta the church parkin’ lot I looked toward the town square. I did. Well that there feller all dressed in black were gone. He were. I reckon he were just preachin’ to them folks what either were goin’ to church, or them what weren’t. So I headed out over Push n Pull Mountain toward West Union. I did.

I wondered about that there feller an’ his big ol’ Bible. I did. I wondered iffen he were one of them travelin’ preachers what never stayed in one place. Just comin’ into town an’ reckonin’ iffen they warned folks about the wrath to come, they done what they was supposed to do. Iffen folks didn’t change their ways an’ all, then them travelin’ preachers knowed they couldn’t be blamed for not warnin’ ‘em.

Easter were supposed to be a right perty day. So the day before I fixed a nice ham an’ Ma’s famous macaroni salad. After church me’n ol’ Blue were gonna head up to Hickory Ridge Cemetery an’ spend some time with ma n’ pa. We were.

Since it were Easter an’ all, I decided to treat myself to breakfast again at Reba an’ Charlies. I did. Well, that there feller in black were there agin. He were.

I ate a little faster than usual so I might have a tad a time to maybe wish him a happy Easter, or maybe chat a little. I did.I reckon he saw me comin’, cause he turned away just a tad when I come up. He did. I said, “Howdy! My name’s Ben Harrison!” He lifted his chin as iffen he were talking to some folks across the way. He did. I weren’t about to be rude nor nothing, but I were right interested in what he were doin’. I were. I’d only seen one other feller like him, an’ that were when I were about seven or eight years old. It were.

Pa’d brought me an’ Ma into town for church, an’ this here feller what were all dressed in black were standin’ on the sidewalk right outside the church buildin’. He were. As folks walked by they could hear real clear what he were sayin’. I heard some folks wanted the preacher to go out tell him to go away. They did. But the preacher said the feller were on city property an’ he weren’t hurtin’ nobody. He did.

Well, that shoutin’ preacher were talkin’ about the end of time comin’ real soon-like. He said the Lord were comin’ like a thief in the night. He did. He said we’d better pray that it not happen at night, but iffen it did we should have oil for our lamps like them wise virgins. He did.

Later on I asked Ma iffen she thought about what that preacher’d said. I did. She said, “Benny, that feller might be a good man, an’ all, an’ I reckon he believes everthing he’s sayin’. Fact is, what he’s sayin’ is true. Cept I think there are better ways a sayin’ it. Ya see Benny, all of us should live our lives as iffen it might be our last day. But that don’t mean we have to go on thinkin’ about it all the time. It’s more important how we live than worryin’ about bein’ surprised by the Lord, or by dyin’, or whatever. When we think about the end all the time it can get in the way of what we should be thinkin’ and doin’ right now. When we love the Lord and treat folks the way we should, that’s what matters. That’s what bein’ ready means.”

I knowed Ma were right I did. So I stuck out my hand to the man in black and said, “God bless ya, friend.” He never looked down, but he stuck out his hand and I shook it. I did.

CONCERNS: Rich Crites has started a brand cancer treatment that has shown very good results in other patients. Marie Barnett’s mother is growing weaker. Marie asks for prayers for herself and her family. Walker Slusher, who lives near the church building, has an aortic aneurism. The only treatment si blood thinner. Kim (Hall) has a friend, Mary, who has advanced Parkinson’s disease. Martha Foy asks our prayers for her aunt, Sue Huels, and for Sandra Anderson, and Gil Richardson. Continue to remember Gary Overstreet, Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick; Hannah, a classmate of Garrett Lee Williams who is being treated for leukemia; Jim Hunter, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Ridney, Marge Greenwood, and Sharon. Also Jenni Cullum, Helen Nicklas. Helen was able to worship with us last Sunday. Mary Smith, Tim Elder, and Mrs Marta.

Monday: John 5:19-47
Tuesday: Philippians 1:19-30
Wednesday: Genesis 7:1-24
Thursday: Lamentations 1:8-16
Friday: Romans 8:12-25
Saturday: Psalm 133,134
Monday: Hosea 11:1-9
Tuesday: Matthew 10:24-39
Wednesday: Exodus 16:1-36
Thursday: Luke 7:36-50
Friday: John 13:31-38; 18:15-27
Saturday: Psalm 103:1-22

Tody, as we have a special memory of the resurrection of Jesus, we will also be enjoying a fellowship meal together. All of this can be a reminder of the empty tomb and at least two meals Jesus shared with his disciples before his ascension. Let’s enjoy our time together in the presence of the Lord today.
At the time the bulletin was being formulated and printed, because this is Easter Sunday, it was not quite decided, with the day and those who were going away for the weekend, if we would have a steering committee meeting. By today (Sunday) that will have been decide. If one is to take place, and you have something to bring to the committees attention, please see one of the members
The Carilion (Hospital) Health System has a DVD available concerning the end of life decisions and preparedness for that occurrence. Some have viewed it and we plan to borrow it again for a community showing sometime in next month.
The plan is to send out invitations to the Grandin area churches and let them announce it to their congregations.
If you invite someone, be sure to tell them there will be no offering taken. This is being done because it is an important subject to examine and discuss. We plan to have those from our congregation who work in all area of health care to be available for brief statements, questions and discussion.
If you would help out with this, talk to Martha Albert. Complete details in the next bulletin.
Ben Robertson has passed out small service information sheets. If you have one, please fill out what you would be willing to do in serving the needs of the congregation. As we near doing a new directory, larger cards will be passed out which can be kept at the office in order to stay current both for the directory and a quick reference when you call for information.


Fred Phelps represented the wrong side of Christianity. Phelp’s reputation as a hater is well documented through the antic’s of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Phelps died on March 19th.

As long as the Bible is used without reference to the time and culture in which it was written, it will be used for any kind of hatred, prejudice and wrong-headed thinking. This is especially true of the Old Testament, or, as it is, the Hebrew Bible.

Few if any modern Jews, reformed or orthodox, follow the ridged rules of the law of Moses. They see them as necessary for the time, but not for all time. A good example of this can be seen in the difference between the Hebrews during the exodus and after they settled in the promised land.

As soon as Joshua dies, the book of Judges indicates that the people turned to idols and wickedness. The book itself does not contain any mention of law, or the Law of Moses.

The book of Ruth introduces two Hebrew men marrying Moabite women, which was forbidden in Deuteronomy 23:3.

David has an adulterous affair with a married woman and neither one of them are killed as the Law of Moses demanded. David’s son, Absalom shows disrespect for his father, and is not killed as the Law of Moses required.
In Deuteronomy 17:14-20 Moses (God?) Gives instructions for the king they will appoint over them in the promised land. Among the instructions are prohibitions against collecting horses and wives, as well as large amounts of silver and gold. The greatest kings, David, Solomon and others did that and there was no prophet who condemned them for it.
The Passover feast was to be done annually, but in II Kings 23 it says, “Not since the days of the judges who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah had any such Passover been observed.” In II Chronicles 35:18 that story is repeated. The Levitical priesthood existed during that time but apparently had no knowledge or concern about the Passover. That would mean they had lost touch with the written law of Moses. Why? How could that happen when God so plainly spoke to those prophets (God-speakers) of the time of the kings?

If you get a concordance and look at the books of Kings and Chronicles you will find an abundance of “God said” and “The Lord said.” And yet nothing is said about the purity laws, marriage laws, the things “the Lord (God) said were to be done in the books of the law of Moses. Another example is when Amnon raped his half-sister, Tamar II Samuel 13:1-5. This was a clear violation of Leviticus 18:11. Yet she says if asked, David will give her to him. None of those who were God’s voice said anything about the law of Moses.

My point is this, when we talk about the “word of God,” we need to realize that term does not imply that God’s voice is actually heard. It means that the one speaking is speaking for God, based on the need for Godly guidance at the moment. That moment in time is just that, a moment in time. It does not always relate to other moments or situations under different circumstances, as can be seen by closely reading the Bible.

For example, what about circumcision? Where does God say the mark of the covenant with Abraham was null and void? Where did Jesus, who was circumcised, say it was no longer valid? When did Jesus or God tell Paul “Circumcision has no value” Gal. 5:6? How did Paul and others like him come to this conclusion? There was no “Thus says the Lord.” It came about because it actually never had any value, except in the mind of those who saw it as a covenant with God. And yet, in Gen. 17:9-14 it says, “God said to Abraham…” V. 10 says, “This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant that you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.” In V. 13 it says, My covenant in your flesh must be an everlasting covenant.” (Italics mine)

Paul and the other New Testament writers should be a model for us as we do not let one-time solutions be used for current problems. Having the “Spirit” of Christ should help with that.

CONCERNS: Marie Barnett’s mother is very near death and Marie asks for prayers for she and her family. Martha Foy’s aunt, Sue Huels is suffering from a broken hip and other problems. Also for Sandra Anderson and Gil Richardson. Jim Hunter has been told the cancer has returned. He is also suffering back and neck pain as the result of an unresolved accident a few years back. Garrett Lee Williams friend, Hannah, is recovering from leukemia. Continue to pray for Rich Crites, Rich is to start a new treatment on the 15th. His sister is back in the nursing home for awhile. Rich and Connie are leaving Monday to go see her. Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick, and her mother Helen, and Leena as she care for her mother. Also Deena McRoy, Gary Overstreet, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder, Mary Smith, Sharon, a friend of Del Bolin’s and
Mrs Marta, the mother of a friend of Jim Hunter’s.

Monday: Isaiah 6:1-13
Tuesday: Matthew 13:1-23
Wednesday: John 6:1-15
Thursday: Luke 15:11-32
Friday: Genesis 39:1-23
Saturday: Psalm 66:1-20
Monday: Hebrews 4:14 – 5:10
Tuesday: Matthew 5:17-48
Wednesday: Genesis 1:1-31
Thursday: II Samuel 12:1-15
Friday: Ephesians 6:10-20
Saturday: Psalm 104:1-35

Mike Branch had an environmental check made on the upstairs restroom to check for asbestos problems. Everything is cleared to go and as soon as the estimates are all in it will be started.
Martha Albert has spent many years as a hospice worked for Carilion Hospital. Recently she viewed a DVD on the last stages of life and how those dealing with it can better understand what is happening. She suggested that we might show this to those in the community as a public service. The Wednesday evening class viewed it and saw a real need for what it says. So we are planning a viewing sometime in late May, if possible. We want as many of our health care workers to be there and be available for their views and to help answer questions.
It will be shown in the annex and we hope to improve the acoustics and the lighting by that time
Thanks to all of you who brought in the breakfast items for the troops remaining in Afghanistan. The unit we have been helping will be leaving soon, and for that we can be thankful. You were able to make a very hard situation a little more bearable by what you have done. Our thanks to Susan and Wayne Phlegar and others who packed and mailed what you contributed.
Easter is April 20. As before, we will have an Easter Egg Hunt in the annex yard for the children. The next bulletin will be Easter Sunday’s. The age for the children is third grade and younger. Holly Wagner will be in charge. Se her for help with the candy-filed eggs.
With the weather changing we will need to schedule a work day around the building. Much of this will be inside work, such as replacing bad ceiling tiles and some other problems with some areas in the restrooms, especially the women’s downstairs restroom. A list will be compiled and a date set soon. If you see other areas of need, let the steering committee know.