One Jaw Dropping Sermon! or Who Took the Grip Out of My Poli-Grip?

13 06 2012

I grew up in a Free Will Baptist Church. Well, I didn’t actually grow up IN the church. But I might as well have. My mother was always of the opinion that when the church doors were open, we should be there. Didn’t seem to matter what the function was-we had to be there. She also saw to it that I participated in all the things kids are expected to participate in at church. For example, I was made to sing in the youth choir even though I was one of only three boys, along with a whole gaggle of girls. That was the most humiliating experience of my childhood as I hated singing and I especially hated singing with a bunch of girls. It seems all the songs we ever sang were written for girls, or at least girly voices. Since we didn’t sing in harmonious parts, we all had to sing the melody and my voice was just too deep to do that without drawing a lot of attention to myself. But at least I had a bird’s eye view of the action when Preacher Cherry lost his teeth. That ALMOST made singing in the youth choir worthwhile.

It was a hot Sunday morning in July, somewhere around 1966, and Preacher Roland Cherry, who was a big man with a booming voice, was wound up tighter than a banjo string. I can’t tell you what the sermon was about, but apparently somebody in that congregation had been up to no good to get him going so feverishly. You know the kind of sermon I’m talking about. It was the kind that when the preacher starts preaching about some immoral act, you look around to see if you can figure out who he’s talking about knowing full well he can’t be talking about you. It was one of those sermons where he would get on a roll and end every other word with uh, you know, like “and the Spirituh will come upon the wickeduh and bring himuh to his kneesuh.” I always wondered if that was something they were taught in preacher school…maybe in Sermons 101. Then every once in a while, he would yell out something and then pause for what seemed like an eternity. I’m not sure if it was a pause for effect or if he was waiting for someone to stand up and confess, but when he paused you could hear your own heartbeat.

Well about halfway through this boisterous oration, his dentures popped out and sailed forward over the pulpit and onto the Communion table in front of the altar. I’m not sure if it was the upper or lower but he tried in vain, with both hands, to catch them before they got away. Then without a word he ran down and grabbed them with his handkerchief and pushed them back into his mouth. Maybe that was the Lord’s way of telling him he had said enough because I have to say the sermon lost a lot of punch after that; kind of like when your mother is yelling at you for breaking her favorite knickknacks (junk to everyone else) and in the middle of her searing reprimand she cuts the cheese…loudly. Everyone gets a good laugh and you promise to be more careful.

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2 responses

13 06 2012
Jackie Garner

too funny and oh so visual

17 06 2012
Bill Taylor

really hard to keep a straight face when the preacher’s teeth pop out.Free entertainment at its finest.

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