Thoughts While Sitting in the Pew

Cabbages and Kings

Quite a few sick listed in the bulletin this morning. I’ll say a prayer for each one. That’s the nice thing about coming early. Time for meditation. I always pray for the sick with my eyes open. If I close them people think I am sleeping. . . .

I like the opening hymn. It’s a psalm. We don’t sing enough psalms. Some churches I preach in don’t sing the psalms at all. Just choruses. A whole generation growing up and not knowing the psalms! Too bad . . .

Going to be a long service. Four baptisms. A reaffirmation of faith. A word from our Christian Education Society. A report on a mission trip to Central America. A children’s message. A choir anthem. A sermon on Christian education. But the preacher usually gets us out in reasonable time. . . .

The young man talking about Christian education is doing well. He was one of eight growing up on a farm. He says all eight went to the Christian school. Dedicated parents! Like mine. . . .

My father hung a sign on me and put me on public transportation to ride miles into the city. The sign told the driver where to put me off to get to the Christian school. Imagine sending a first-grader alone into Detroit! You wouldn’t do
that today. . . .

The speaker says Christian education is worth whatever the rising tuition rate. Good job. I wonder sometimes about the future of Christian education. . . .

The baptism formulary is abbreviated. Fine with me. I think our baptism and communion forms in the back of the Psalter Hymnal are too long. Sometimes we drown spiritual experiences in words, words, words . . .

A judge is reporting on the mission trip. When he was a little boy I had to stop him from running up and down the aisle. His father and I started our Christian Education Society 50 years ago. Now this kid is standing in our pulpit! Thank you, Lord, for him and those for whom he is reporting. . . .

I wonder what our minister will say about Christian education. The first time I preached on the subject a family transferred out. The second time around, the same. The third time a third family transferred out. I asked an elder if I should stop preaching an annual sermon on Christian education. I struck out! Three times! The elder said, “Keep going. This isn’t baseball. . . .”

The sermon is based on John 10:1–10, especially those words of Jesus, “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.” I think the King James says “more abundantly.” I like that better. The pastor thanks the Lord for those present who are public school teachers. Good! One of our daughters is one. But he adds that there’s a profound difference between public versus Christian education. He points to verse 4, where it says Jesus’ followers hear and know his voice. He says that in Christian education our children hear and know the voice of Jesus, who calls them and leads them to a more abundant, fuller life. I like what I hear. I wish I had used that passage for one of my more than 30 sermons on a subject I believe in with all my heart. Christian education . . .

I think I’ll write a Banner article on the subject. Trouble is I’ve written on it quite a number of times in the past. I’d better not title my article “Christian Education.” Maybe “Pew Thoughts.” No. Too bare. I think I can hook more readers if I title the article . . .

“Thoughts While Sitting in the Pew.”

About the Author

Rev. Jacob D. Eppinga was pastor emeritus of LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church, in Grand Rapids, Mich. He went to be with his Lord March 1, 2008. This column concludes his popular “Cabbages and Kings” series, which he wrote for 40 consecutive years. Watch for It’s All Grace, a collection of his best and more recent columns to be published in book form this fall by Faith Alive Christian Resources.
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