The glass was thick and wavy,
In the decrepit manse by the road
You could see the outside barely
Curvy, not well disclosed.
The dust of ages had settled
Upon the clapboard floor,
Must hung in the air
Like it’d been there evermore.
The cobwebs on the eaves
Had a settled look
Here for the duration
However long it took.
The old bookshelf listed
To the right hand side
And on its shelf a single book
The Good Book did abide.
I picked up the tome
The binding now quite loose
Not from age or sad neglect
But from perpetual use.
I opened it in the middle,
Where an ancient bookmark lay
And found these words underlined
‘The Lord is my strength and stay”.
If this old house could speak
And tell a well-worn tale
Beyond the stairs that bend and creak
Beyond time’s dark veil,
It would speak of a loving family
A house that served the Lord
A home where love and peace were known
While feasting on the Word.
It would speak of many years
Of service to one’s church
Of ministers who stuck through thick and thin
None left in the lurch.
It would speak of midnight emergencies
And racing through the night
To one hospital or another
To calm those in shock or fright.
It would speak of hours on one’s knees
It would speak of singing in full throat
About a higher love.
It would speak of many meals
Where grace was shared and said
It would speak of hospitality
A good and generous spread.
It would speak of meetings on and on
About this need or that
It would even tell of wrangling
About budgets thin or fat.
It would tell of Bible study times
The Spirit in the air,
And God’s good word was opened up
With understanding care.
It would tell of tearful goodbyes
When kids left too soon for college
To try and make their way in life
By gaining some sort of knowledge.
It would tell of celebration’s joy
When new life came on stage
Of births and baptisms and parties
New births, even in old age.
It would tell of funerary rites
And black suits hanging down
And comfort cold and warm
As the dead were laid in the ground.
And weddings galore with full rapport
Brides all resplendent in white
And noticeably nervous grooms
Unable to eat a bite.
Hatching, matching, dispatching
Were the daily chores
And preparing that ‘good sermon’
Went on forever more.
The old parsonage could preach
If we had ears to hear
A thousand tales of ministry
Done over many years.
Long after the reverend was dead and gone
Long after the parsonage was left to fall
There was still the strong sense within—-
That God is forever, Lord of all.