“Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee.”
As we sang the words to this beautiful hymn this morning in church it brought back sweet memories of growing up and attending Vacation Bible School.
Times were different then and we only had two white churches in our very small rural town in middle Georgia. I feel confident that there were Negro churches but that was something that I was not aware of at the time. There were no “Black” churches because that word was not used to describe the Negro race at that time. I did hear another word but I knew it was not a nice word.
Each summer both the Baptist and Methodist churches would host Vacation Bible School during the same week. This was a very special time to learn Bible verses, songs, and stories about Jesus and learn to love others and obey our parents. We had great snacks and made crafts that we were so proud to share. It was a fun week and something we all looked forward to.
At the end of the week a program was held to show our parents and the other adults what we had learned. This was the only time that the Baptist and Methodist churches came together. A combined program took place in the church whose turn it was to host the program.
As we marched in separately we had a special hymn that we sang as we entered. The Methodist marched to “Onward Christian Soldiers” and the Baptist marched to “Holy, Holy, Holy”. To this day when ever I hear either of these songs it touches my heart in a very special way.
Many years later my husband who was raised in the Catholic Church asked me if the Baptist were prejudiced against the Catholics when I was growing up. I smiled and answered very quickly, “No, we didn’t have any Catholics in our small town so we weren’t prejudiced against them. We were prejudiced against the Methodist because they sprinkle instead of dunk them into the water”.
I smiled and laughed when I spoke these words but I knew in my heart that there was some truth to what I had just said.
There is always a risk when we revisit times past but often there are some very wonderful things that we will forever treasure.
As I reflect on my memory of marching into Vacation Bible School singing “Holy, Holy, Holy” I will always be grateful to my parents who took me to church as a small child and introduced me to Jesus Christ Who eventually became my LORD and Savior. Although I do not recall who they are, I am thankful for the Vacation Bible School teachers who gave their time to make a difference in my life.
Today, I still attend a Baptist Church but find such joy in knowing that my LORD is the LORD of all who call upon His Name in Faith. He is no respecter of persons whether they are Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, White, Negro, or any other name. He invites all who will to come to Him. I rejoice that through Christ my boundaries have been extended and the walls have come down.