Proclaiming the Word

The Circuit Riding Preacher

The Circuit Riding Preacher used to ride across the land
With a rifle in his saddle and the Bible in his hand,
He told the prairie people all about the promised land
As he went riding, singing down the trail.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarm,
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

The Circuit Riding Preacher traveled through the mire and mud
Told about the fiery furnace and of Noah and the flood.
He preached the way to heaven was by water and the blood
As he went riding, singing down the trail.

There is power, power, wonder-working power
In the blood, of the lamb,
There is power, power, wonder-working power
In the precious blood of the lamb.

You know, a circuit riding preacher said these words one day,
Lord, I’d rather see a sermon, than hear one any day,
And I’d rather one walk with me, than merely show the way
For the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creed
And to see their good in action, is what everybody needs.
I can learn to do it, if you let me see it done
I can watch their hands in action, but their tongues too fast may run.
And the sermons they deliver may be very wise and true
But I’d rather get my sermon in watching what they do.
For I may misunderstand them and the high advice they give,
But I’d rather get my lesson in watching how they live.

John 3:16
16 “For hGod so loved ithe world,9 jthat he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not kperish but have eternal life. 17 For lGod did not send his Son into the world mto condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 nWhoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not obelieved in the name of the only Son of God. 19

I have often joked that I was a circuit riding preacher. When I served the older congregation at Lakewood UMC, I went from Benton to Conway to Beebe and all over North Little Rock to take God’s word and share Holy Communion.

When I was appointed to the Sixteenth Section/Ward UMC churches, I traveled several days a week from Little Rock to Austin and Ward, riding in my trusty Subaru (the preacher-mobile) instead of on horseback as the circuit riders of old.

I counted it as great joy to be able to minister to and serve with the people in these congregations, and I am so thankful to have made life-long friends, many of whom watch these devotionals on Facebook.

Today my ministry has certainly changed. I cannot visit nursing homes or senior living centers due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although I am still asked to fill the pulpit of the few churches that remain open, I usually decline because I am no longer strong enough to deliver the word in person. Many churches are offering services online, one of which is my home church, Asbury UMC, for which I am supremely grateful, but I miss being with the people of God.

I am sure that you, too, miss being in your church building. But remember, you are the church, I am the church, we are all the church,and therefore you are always with God and His people. Glory, glory hallelujah, His truth is marching on.

Receive now this blessing. God gave His only son for you and for me, and for all who will call on His name. Take the name of Jesus with you and share Him with all you meet.

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