Monday, February 29
Shake the Preacher’s Hand
Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.—Isaiah 41:10
The church of my youth was the basement of a Catholic school. There were pews, an organ, and a preacher. Sitting in the pew I felt God and goodness, love and acceptance. During the preacher’s sermons I sometimes squirmed but they did keep me on the straight and narrow. The organ was small which was fine because few people sang anyway.
I thought of Sunday as the refreshing start to the week. Monday-Friday was packed with school, work, and chores. If we weren’t cleaning the house, Saturdays were a play day with time to go to the library and hang out with friends. Sundays were about church and family with chicken dinners, fishing, and reading the Sunday paper.
Craig Morgan captures some of these themes in his song, “That’s What I love About Sunday.” He talks about cane poles, cutting coupons, naps, walks and church. The refrain is what grabs me;
That’s what I love about Sunday,
Sing along as the choir sways,
Every verse of Amazing Grace,
And then we shake the preacher’s hand.
As a kid I wanted to sing at church and I wanted to thank the priest for his sermon. Unfortunately, few people sang so I mumbled and as the first closing notes played on the organ the priest disappeared into his dressing room. So we all left in a hurry, exiting to cars that would scatter us into the rest of Sunday. Which is why now, on Sundays, I love belting out a closing hymn and the highlight that starts my week is shaking a preacher’s hand as I leave Trinity.