The cover to our hymnals, the Cokesbury kind, were brown, not white. More majestic and fewer hymns were sung at the Sunday morning service, and i think we just called them hymns, maybe gospels some times, and i don’t remember singing “Leaning on Everlasting Arms,” but if you hummed a few notes, i’ll bet i would remember.
Sunday night at the First Methodist Church in Lebanon was when those gospels rang out, many and loud in that sanctuary with the balcony in the back. It remains one of my most joyful memories from my past. There was so much energy, so much peace, so much understanding, so much belief. It would be a wonderful thing to go back one more time and sing. “Rock of Ages,” “Amazing Grace,” “Old Rugged Cross,” “Blessed Assurance,” and “How Great Thou Art.” Those hymns were shared with the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and pretty much every church within an arm’s reach of Lebanon, Tennessee back then. And “In the Garden” has a special place and a special meaning for me. i wish i could do more than peck at the piano with my right hand and wish i had learned to play the left hand like my Granny and Aunt Gussie.
Sean brought those memories all out of me when i read his post this morning: