We turned left just past Sicily Island and drove down the winding two lanes of asphalt toward the great Mississippi. They told us that the sign would say, “Zion Baptist Church” and we were to turn right. If we got to the levy, we’d gone too far. The small white church was about a half mile on the right. Cars were parked tightly along both sides of the narrow road, desperately trying not to slide into the bar ditches. The funeral had already started.
As we walked closer, the choir was singing Amazing Grace as it was meant to be sung. The smell of Bar-b-Q was in the air. It was as if we’d stepped back in time.
The church was packed. We were the only white men in the building. The usher quickly set up a wooden folding chair in the isle on the first pew and took me to it. It was clearly the best seat in the house.
We were looking for Maxi, our custodian. Her sister was being buried.
No less than four pastors rose to the challenge of sending Faye off in style. And style it was. Perfect, picturesque faith in action. The last one to stand was the best. He started soft and slow, like a rising storm, “There are many days between January first, and December thirty-first.” A slow pause for effect and then he continued, “Some like Christmas Day best. . . can I get a witness?”
Several polite “amen’s” followed.
“Some like Mother’s Day the best. . . can I get a witness?”
The “amen’s” were slightly stronger. You could feel the tension mounting as the he pressed higher.
“Millions like,” (a short pause) “Pay Day” best. . .”
Before he could ask for a witness, they were already shouting one back at him. Everyone knew the point was about to be made.
“But the best day of all… is MOVING DAY!” Can . . . I . . . GET. . . A. . . WITNESS?” The congregation erupted in reply. “Today, is Faye’s moving day.”
He went on to describe how she is moving from temporary to eternal, from rags to riches, from shack to mansion and from glory to glory! By the time he finished I was almost wishing I could trade places with Faye.
Philippians 1:21 took on a new meaning. “To live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Christians don’t really have a “dying day,” they simply have a “moving day.”
That’s the good news. Have a great day!