We celebrated the trivial part of the holiday with Easter baskets and a small gift. Then it was off to church in new clothes.
To this day, I’m not sure I understand the reasoning behind new clothes for Easter service. It has been that way as long as I can remember so there must be something to it.
The problem with it for me was the fact we couldn’t change into play clothes until the grandparents had seen us in our Sunday best.
There have been many times throughout my life that I have heard church folks complain about the folks that only come to church on Easter or Christmas. Personally, I say that twice a year is better than none at all. But that is just my opinion.
It’s impossible to think about Easter and not think about the pastors I have had. They are all good men. And they are all different.
Ray Mauldin was the first one I can really remember. Ray preached conviction to me and baptized me in July 1974.
Ray would always start out eloquently using some words I didn’t always understand. But an hour later, when his shirt was darkened with sweat from preaching, his words got smaller and easier to understand. He made it plain enough to me that at the age of 12 I knew I needed what he was preaching about.
Monroe Gunter was the next one in my memory. Unlike Ray, Monroe never used a lot of big words. He’s probably the most plain spoken of all the pastors I have ever had. Monroe seemed to know when something bad was going to happen. I’m not sure if that is a gift or a curse.
When watching Monroe talk to God, I always knew he had a direct line and could see things the rest of us weren’t privy too.
David Pruitt followed Monroe. David is nothing like Ray or Monroe. David can preach. But he can sing, too. I remember him singing “My God Is Real” many times with his daughter, Julie. I wonder if they know what a blessing it was to hear them. When David talked to God, it was if he was having a conversation with a friend. His prayers were always direct and to the point without a lot of filler words.
Larry Waddell was another pastor I was privileged to have. Larry can preach parts of the Bible most people can’t even understand. I can’t think of any other preacher that can dissect the Old Testament as easy as the New Testament like Larry can. And if there was ever a man that lived what he preached, it is Larry.
O’Neal Evans was my pastor for a year if I am remembering correctly. O’Neal is a quiet and serious type. But he is an open book. You can see what he is feeling by the look on his face. The thing I most appreciate about O’Neal is the fact he didn’t just preach to the church. He always included himself as a recipient of the message.
James McGaha was also a great pastor. James has the ability to reach the young and old alike. If there is one thing I could say about James to describe him, it would be that he truly loved the church and every member in it, regardless of their status.
Leon Pettit was also my pastor. I wrote about him not long ago after his sudden death. If you were around Leon, you didn’t need a Bible concordance.
He could tell you where any scripture was.
He was the best-read pastor I have ever known.
Although not officially my pastor, I have to mention Floyd Ellis. I didn’t belong to Open Bible Baptist Church, but Floyd always treated me like I did. Floyd would preach about sin. But I never heard him point out the sin in anyone’s life.
Floyd has the gift of seeing the good in everyone.
All of these men were great pastors. Every one of them contributed something to my life, although I’m not sure if they would want that known. I feel sure I’ve disappointed them all, but they loved me anyway.
I thank God for His love and theirs. Have a blessed Easter Sunday.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.