“Oh law mercy child, y’know not to worry nary’ a’ bit bout the’ words or the sights you seen at the preaching meeting tonight. God al’ ready knows your heart, so y’know y’don‘t have a thing t’worry about.” Those were “granny” Berkley’s words trying to comfort me after a tent revival many years ago on the lane. I heard for the first time that the end of the world was coming soon and Granny Berkley knew I did not understand one word about the message. Looking back to that time I remember clearly what I was wearing and how happy I was that Mom allowed me to attend this old time gospel meeting.
Mom did not plan to attend and was uneasy about allowing me to go along with neighbors… She told me the music would be loud and the preacher’s sermon would be long. However she knew I loved to sing and would enjoy the hymns and the music. I remember the smell of sweet honeysuckle heavy in the air as I started the walk to the revival. I clutched a few coins in my hand for the offering plate, and I could hear, “Shall we gather at the River, clearly in the distance as I joined Granny Berkley and the ladies to walk the dusty lane leading us to the tent revival. The advertisement pamphlet held tightly under my arm promised good gospel singing and a life changing experience to all that came and hear the message… My mom’s words were going through my head as granny and the neighbors found our seats. I was amazed to see many people most were strangers to me. I lifted my head and sang with my heart to the heavens above. I knew the words to all the old hymns and believed that God heard my voice as I sang to Him… The lyric of the hymns were like prayers to my child’s mind. As the neighbors walked me home from the revival we talked along the way. I remember telling Granny Berkley that the preacher’s words scared me and I wondered how to give my heart to God. Granny assured me the preacher’s message was not a new message, that she heard the same massage when she was a child.
Granny assured me that I would most likely see daylight in the morning. She added that God’s amazing grace covered those that loved Him, that we were judged by our hearts and good deeds to our fellow man. For the time her explanation soothed my fears.
Through the years I think about that evening often and remember the life lesson learned that night. Time passed and I began to mature and understand….God’s marvelous, amazing, abundant grace—-in a brand new way, I began to recognize the Holy Spirit giving me the desire to seek the knowledge, I wanted to spend time in His Living Word to study the history of the books in the Bible chapter by chapter and verse by verse. However I know for sure that it was no accident that I was blessed to be drawn together with the good folk from the lane and to share the old time religion tent revival that evening long ago. I received many values from those days… I feel safe to say, our values define who we are…the values I brought from living on the lane knowing those fine special people add joy, harmony and peace to my soul.
Millie’s, quote for today by Billy Graham; Let your home be your parish, your little brood your congregation, your living room a sanctuary, and your knee a sacred alter.”