“Life in a Rural Church,” by Rev. Ladena Bough



Life in a rural church is always interesting.  You show up on a Sunday morning and sometimes you have to turn right around and call everyone in the congregation to say “We’ve had a visitor so we’ll have to gather at Ramona’s house” because that “visitor” was a skunk under the floor.  Other times you find that the wind has blown your doors open during the latest storm so you have to take a little extra time to clear a bird out that took refuge indoors or maybe you need to spend a few minutes knocking down the latest wasp nest.   I do have to say that I am somewhat glad the winter weather seems to be behind us so I don’t have to light the fire each week, but given all the effects of nature, skunks and a 100 year old building, I wouldn’t change a thing about our little gathering spot.

During this Passover season we are granted the ability to do so much more than a large church, in practicality, is capable of doing.  Our Easter gathering includes communion and one other item that I doubt you will find in any large church you may attended.  In the book of John, chapter 13 describes the Last Supper, the departure of Judas to betray our Lord, and Jesus getting up from the table, taking off his outer garments, and washing the feet of His disciples, despite their protests.  In particular, verses 12-17 say:

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

You will never be as humbled as when you take a moment to wash the feet of an 85 year old farmer or his wife, having spent their entire lives working sun up to sun down, six days a week, and seen the ravages of age, arthritis, corns and calluses.  Our Lord always led by example, and through His grace we have learned to listen with our hearts.  By His example we are able to take the time each Passover season to wash the feet of our brothers and sisters, to know more genuinely their hardships, and bless them as we may never get to do with anyone other than our babies.  A little rural church may not be for everyone, but I cherish these small lessons, bringing a humble heart and greater understanding of what our Lord did for the least of these.