Throw Out the Lifeline
My son asked me to describe my salvation experience. I will do my best to share it with you all. I was raised by a working class couple in a rural area of Southwest Pennsylvania. My dad was raised a Pentecostal with the speaking in tongues and my mom went to a Church of God, a Winebrenner sect of religion. I imagine my mom and dad chose the Church of God, because that is the religion I was exposed to as I grew up.
The church we attended was a small, white clapboard church located in the small, rural community of Clinton, Pennsylvania. The church had no running water, frosted glass windows, and an old, coal-fired furnace in the basement that heated the church through a large, centrally located metal grate. Dark wooden pews lined the center aisle, but many of the hand-built pews for the Sunday School classes were made of straight boards, painted a muddy brown color.
The building was surrounded by a gravel parking lot and several open fields and I can remember the bell of the church ringing overhead calling the people of the community to come and worship. Its congregation was composed of farmers, laborers, and retired men as members. The women members were mostly secretaries, mothers, and wives.
The unusual thing about the Church of God is that they believed in the washing of the Saints feet. It was an addition to the partaking of the Lord’s Supper, the eating of the broken bread and the drinking of the grape juice. Men washed men’s feet and women washed women’s feet. It wasn’t so much a scrubbing as it was splashing on water on the other person’s feet and then drying the feet with the end of a long towel that was wrapped around the person doing the washing and drying.
We were having a revival meeting. It was October and cold outside with frost at night and leaves turning, but there was no snow yet. I can’t remember the exact date but I was about twelve years old. The hymns and the preaching were over and the speaker gave the altar call. The hymn, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning” was being sung, when I felt a stirring in my heart, a calling. I walked down the aisle and knelt at the old altar rail and asked God to forgive my sins and to accept me as His child.
I’ve not always kept my part of my bargain with God, I‘ve strayed, but His with His infinite love, He still claims me as His child.