Parsonage Parsing (Parsonage's Passing)

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

Imploring God above

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.

9-4-2011

  • Greendoc34

    Poignant words to this old preacher! Lived in several parsonages before the “housing allowence” became the vogue. Thank you for stirring up those precious memories- some of which are probably more precious as memories than when I was actually living them as a young and naive evangel. Blessings to all who read and remember. Randall

  • Navcad56

    Me, Too. Thanks

  • Mafutha

    Interesting thing is our church, with a part-time pastor, Made a change. We turned our parsonage in a “Mission House”. It’s now used to house missionaries w/ families on furlough. Some members didn’t like it and wanted to sell it to pay for the financial problems we were having. . But the majority decided to do what we though God was leading. Well The house is booked for 3 more years and The church is very much financially stable. God blesses those who put their faith in the Lord. Oh those who wanted to sell…They left the church before God worked.


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