Kirk, Kathy, and I sat on the front pew of First Methodist Church in Carthage, TX. We were just little kids - 10, 8, and 5. The Meems sat be-robed in the choir loft, so we sat where she could see us and threaten us with her stares and glares when the sermon got a little longish. I loved "Big Church." The air smelled like fresh, clean water. The air conditioning whispered a sweet sacred song. The sanctuary was white, bright, holy. We dressed in our finest. A little-man suit for Kirk. Sunday dresses with poofy petticoats for Kathy and me. We wore tiny white gloves and white straw Easter hats. Clutched in our be-gloved hands were tiny white straw purses filled with little girl treasures...a tiny golden souvenir coin purse from Aquarina Springs which held the offering plate dime, a couple of pieces of Halloween candy with loud, crinkly wrappers, and a tube of dried up Chapstick.
I took pride in the fact that I knew the Nicene Creed - complete with mysterious words "we believe in one holy, catholic and apolistic church" - and the Lord's Prayer by heart. My little voice rang out with gusto as I sang the Gloria Patri. "WORLD without END! AHHHH-MEN! Ahhhh-men!" My favorite hymn was "Onward Christian SO-OH-JERS! MARCH-ing as to WAR!" There was another hymn that had one particular song that I loved singing, "Here I raise my EB-UH-NEEZ-ER!" It was only a couple of years ago that I was able to actually identify the name of the hymn thanks to Chris Rice. "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" isn't on the top ten list of praise and worship songs these days.
I LOVED that word, "Ebenezer." Of course, I totally thought that it was a "he" like Ebenezer Scrooge. Yep. I'm going to raise up little Ebenezer right here. Right exactly here. When I heard the Chris Rice version of the song, I began to wonder about what the heck an Ebenezer was. Raise a whut? Eba-whut? So, I looked it up. Here's the quick version. Old Testament Jews had a little ritual of raising up either big old stones or piles of rocks in places that signified that God had brought them a long, long way via his grace, love and forgiveness. "Here I raise my Ebenezer. Here by thy great help I've come."
If you were to overhear me singing this song at the top of my lungs in the shower, the Ebenezer line and "SING ME SOME MEL-O-DIOUS SAH-AH-NET SUNG BY FLAY-MING TONGUES ABOVE!" would be the only two lines you'd hear. Over and over and over. That's usually all I can remember unless I'm singing one beat behind Chris Rice.
On hiking trails, they have little Ebenezers that hikers call "cairns" that mark the trail where no trail is obvious. Hikers that have gone before you create these little towers of assurance to help you find your way. Trust me. By the time I get to places where cairns are the main means of trail-finding, it is ONLY by God's great help I've come.
I've decided that I need to raise an Ebenezer as a testament to all that God has done for me in the past 55 years. Oh, the places we have gone, from the depths of despair to the mountaintops of great, great joy. Yep. I needs me an Ebenezer. God's amazing grace brought me to this time and this place.
Take us on outta here, Chris!
|With a little bit of Liquid Nails and some specially|
chosen rocks that I may or may not have borrowed from an
undisclosed National Park, I made myself a wee Ebenezer.