Easter brings memories of my childhood Methodist Church in Centerview, Kansas. Every Sunday morning, Mom brushed my hair and as she pulled it into a pony tail, I heard… “Recite your memory verse, Dandy.” With a big sigh, and a roll of my eyes, I recited:
Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20)
Mom scooted us out the door, and we climbed into the pickup with Dad so he could drive us to Sunday School. As soon as we turned off the bumpy gravel road, onto the blacktop headed North, I started searching for the tiny church steeple. It slowly enlarged as we got closer. Soon, my sister and I were standing on the gravel, holding Daddies hand and looking up at the big bell in the tower. I loved the tone of the bell ringing throughout the countryside.
Daddy returned home to get mom as we entered the foyer and climbed down the old curved cement steps to the basement for our Sunday School time. There was Evalyn Miller, so excited to see us, calling us by name and hugging us. We always began by singing Into My Heart. I loved singing. My favorites were Deep and Wide, the B-I-B-L-E, Jesus Loves the Little Children, This Little Light of Mine, and the Devil is a Sly Old Fox.
I eagerly waited for Evalyn to set up the flannel board and tell us a Bible story. My favorite was Noah and the Ark, I loved all the animals. We recited new memory verses every week, learned the books of the Bible, Psalm 23, The Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. A poster hung from the wall with each of our names listed. For each achievement we got to place a colored foil star by our name.
One of the highlights of the year for Mom, was her children not missing Sunday School. Annually we got called to the front of the church by the Sunday School Superintendent, Carl Simpson, and received another perfect attendance bar. I have ten bars attached to my Centerview pin.
At the end of our Sunday School hour, Mom and Dad were waiting in the church foyer at the top of the stairs. I always begged to go home, and not stay for boring church. My request was ignored as I was gently guided to the back row where we always sat – the Donovan pew.
My hour of daydreaming began. I gazed at the pictures hanging behind the preacher. The first was a little girl sitting on Jesus’ lap, surrounded by children and sheep. I pretended it was me on His lap, and all our Sunday School friends were there. We loved being surrounded by the sheep, and listening to the stories Jesus told. I knew He loved us as much as Evalyn Miller did.
The second picture showed Jesus standing at a door overgrown with greenery and vines. Every Sunday I stared at the picture and He was patiently knocking and waiting for someone to open the door. It didn’t have a door knob on the outside, so it had to be opened from the inside. I wondered who lived there and why they didn’t invite Him in?
I dreamed Jesus was coming to our house for dinner today after church. I would open the door for Him, and we would serve him roast beef and mashed potatoes. We ate that every Sunday. After dinner we could walk around the farm, pet my colt, Joy, look at the new baby kittens in the manger and show Him our sheep, Dixie and Trixie. After I did my chores, gathering eggs, I would sit on His lap, visit with Him and listen to His stories.
Today, I ponder those pictures of my childhood. I feel ashamed when I think of wasted days that Jesus was knocking at my door – waiting for me to invite Him in. I missed many opportunities to spend time with Him.
After 65 years, I have developed the hospitality for Christ. I open my office door and begin everyday with Him, “Into my Heart.” Then we spend the rest of the day together.
Dear Father, You patiently waited for me to open the door. Forgive me for not inviting you into my heart every day and remembering You are with me all day. Continue to interrupt my sleep so I will be aware of Your presence and be reminded that I need less mattress time, and more Master time with You. Amen
Wishing you a blessed Easter with a lot of God-time.