I knew Paul from when he was a boy and his dad and I were pastors in a church in Texas. Years later Paul was in my son's wedding in Arkansas. Paul is a great writer and a funny human being. He now lives with his wife, Libby, in North Carolina. When he posted this story, after I picked myself up off the floor from laughing so hard, I obtained his permission to use it.
He writes: Libby and I tried out a new church this morning. I won't throw them under the bus, but it was a non-denominational church in the area. They meet in a room in a local YMCA. I had a bad feeling when we saw that they were handing out earplugs at the front door. I am not kidding. We didn't get any. I figured "Eh, I guess they're for old people."
There couldn't have been more than 75 people in the room. There was an odd smokiness in the room like we'd walked into a haunted house. We sat in the second row. We were probably ten feet from ENORMOUS speakers.
As soon as the music started, I almost shouted out the name of our Savior as my ears popped, and I flinched like a rookie quarterback getting annihilated by a 300-pound lineman. Trust me. It wouldn't have mattered if we sat in the back row. We still would have been struggling to worship with blood trickling from our ears/nose and our bowels beginning to loosen.
When they asked for prayer requests, all I could choke out was "Jesus ... Jesus ... please make the music stop."
They were very nice people and I'm sure they love the Lord. I'm sure the sermon was powerful if I'd heard it. But if we keep going there we'll be deaf and incontinent in a month. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it was loud.
Libby added this line: I wadded up the free T-shirts they gave us as earmuffs. As we left, a line started to form by people begging us to come back because they thought we were THAT cool ...
I can feel their pain since I have acute hearing. As a boy, I hunted rabbits by sitting on a log and waiting until I heard them moving. In some church meetings, there have been times I moved to the back or had to leave due to loud music.
You know, in the Bible times, there were no public address systems. Jesus pushed out from shore in a boat because water carried his voice to the big crowd. Things were simpler then. Gatherings were usually in homes even though the church in a city might number tens of thousands.
The normal life of the early church was about people sharing life in Christ. It consisted of lessons from the leaders, fellowship with one another, shared meals in each other’s homes, and regular times of prayer. No earplugs needed. In fact, you wanted your ears open so you could hear every word coming from God.
Ron Wood ministers at Trinity Assembly of God in Meridian. 601-483-8189. trinitymeridian.com. Hear “The Father’s Power” radio program on 103.3 FM each Sunday at 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday’s guest is pastor LaBaron Hedgemon.