“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 26, NO. 15&16 – THE MAN IN BLACK
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.
OUR DAILY BREAD: APRIL 21-26
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
OUR DAILY BREAD: APR. 28-MAY 3
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
TODAY AND SUPER SUNDAY
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
AN END OF LIFE FILM EVENT
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.