Today’s article is another installment in our series of childhood church memories. Today, Sister Vicki Ali recollects how her definition of “cool” has changed since she was a teenager.
I didn’t dig deep into my earliest church memories, but I dialed back to my preteen years and came across a good one to share. At this age, church services could be highly entertaining to an immature brain. The sport of Church People Watching provided many moments of uncontrollable muffled laughter as friends and I witnessed things like a sister returning to the front pew during the service with a trail of toilet paper stuck to her shoe. There were also poorly timed burps and other funny noises from old and young humans, and once a Sunday school Christmas program momentarily dissolved into melee when two kids got into a physical brawl front and center on stage. All of these — certainly America’s Funniest Home Video worthy moments.
However, the most amusing church memory I’ll share occurred when my family and I attended the Roscoe, Pennsylvania, location of The Church of Jesus Christ for several years. I dreaded the hour ride to get there, crammed in a car with my siblings and parents, which also included stopping to pick up my grandma and another elderly sister. Did I mention the last two passengers always wore very strong (often conflicting) floral perfumes? After escaping that misery, I was glad to settle into a pew with my new friend, Robyn. Robyn was four years older than me and super cool. She was kind enough to tolerate awkward me sitting there, as I admired her weekly lip gloss and nail polish choices, and we doodled in notebooks. So what significant event stands out from this pew memory?
The testimony of Brother David Thompson, which unfolded the exact same way, every week as he called out the hymn “Standing on the Promises.”
The congregation sang (here’s an excerpt from second verse)
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
by the living Word of God I shall prevail,
standing on the promises of God…
As the last verse ended … wait for it … here it comes, Brother David JUMPED to his feet in the front row, holding onto his suspenders, rocking back and forth on his heels as he bellowed the last chorus, his deep voice thundering enthusiastically, “I’m staaaaaaaannnnnddd-DING, I’m standing on the promises of God!” at which point he would launch into praise and thanksgiving. To be honest, I can’t recall one detail of what he said after his grand introduction. I probably snickered and rolled my eyes, but the image and sound of it plays back in my head clearly to this day.
Only now it seems a little less silly and a lot more poignant. To witness someone consistently, despite circumstance, bravely sum up his life in that way time after time. What a confident, rock-solid place to be standing — on the promises of God, which cannot fail. I am so thankful for this awesome memory, which I’ve come to appreciate as being super cool.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)
Do you have any early memories that you value differently now that you’re an adult?
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.