Fall 1991

"Heaven’s Gates and the Gypsies"

Heaven’s gates were open wide,
But still the gypsies camped outside.

"Heaven's Gates and the Gypsies" is the title of one of the sermons contained in a book The Window Sill of Heaven, by J. Winston Pearce, published in 1958. Many years ago my neighbor Jean Crowe lent me this book. I read through all the sermons and after some time returned the book. Several years later, the sermon, "Heaven's Gates and the Gypsies," continued to come back to me. Once again I asked Jean if I might borrow the book, and I must confess I still have it. This sermon has haunted my thoughts.

Dr. Pearce begins his sermon by explaining how gypsies always camp just outside the city. They go into the city, take advantage of all it has to offer, but assume none of the responsibilities required of citizens of the city. I think of the ways in life that we often are like the gypsies.

I am like the gypsies in that I want all the blessings which come from being a part of God’s family, one of His children, but too often I am unwilling to contribute anything to make this all that it can be for those of us who can rejoice in knowing we belong here.

I sometimes find myself envying those who are as familiar with His word as a woman with her favorite cookbook. She knows just where to look for her favorite recipes and for other helpful bits of information. When I ponder how many sermons, Sunday School lessons, and Bible studies I have been exposed to in the 47 years I have been a Christian and how little I have retained, I want to hang my head in shame. It is true I do have many favorite scriptures, but I often come upon a new" one just as meaningful which I do not recall having read.

I would not want to be without my Bible. I want the comfort of having it close at hand, using it to follow along during the sermons and studies, but — shirking responsibilities like a gypsy — rarely taking it up to read and delve into to learn more of its truths and application to my life.

I have acquired many books to read and use as guides as I learn more about what His word can say to me. Many I have simply skimmed. Recently I told Don I will not purchase another one until I have completed those I have. I ask myself if my inability to concentrate and retain due to the distraction of inner ear noises is not God’s reminder that other capabilities might also be lost.

We would not want to be without the avenue of communication with God through prayer. We pray our years-old blessings before meals, our "Now I lay me down to sleep" at bedtime, and gasp a quick one as a possible accident looms ahead. We hasten to Him when serious illness appears or when sorrow enters. Yet we are also to engage in that fervent, persistent prayer that availeth much as James describes the prayers of the righteous man Elias. We are slow to simply sit and quietly praise God and rejoice with Him. We want his availability and the results He promises, but we want to choose the time and manner.

Recently I have been reminded often how He longs for us to come for rejoicing and the sweetness of fellowship rather than always for the beseeching of blessings. Here again we are so like the gypsies.

Our "America the Beautiful" beckons us to contribute our share to keep it the "land of the free and the home of the brave," yet we complacently take all it offers for granted without thought of what we might contribute to keep it all these things. How long will the recent spirit of patriotism last? Very soon we will forget the threat which brought it about. The approaching holiday season with times of Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations brings an even greater awareness of our willingness to take these pleasures with. little thought of how we came to have them.

As I mentioned earlier, these comparisons of myself to the gypsies have returned often to my mind through the years. Though unlike Dr. Pearce’s theme, which was how near some come to heaven but choose to stay outside (which I would not attempt), my application has been meaningful to me. Now that I have put these thoughts down on paper and shared them, I will once against return Jean’s book until I again feel the need to be reminded that:

Heaven’s gates were open wide,
But we like gypsies camped outside.


Thanksgiving Day

Father, we around this table thank Thee:
for Thy great gift of life,
that Thy love for us is not dependent upon any unworthiness of ours,
for good health, that we know neither hunger nor want, for warm clothes to wear, for those who love us best, for friends whose words of encouragement have often chased away dark clouds, for the zest of living, for many an answered prayer, for kindly providences that have preserved us from danger and harm.

We thank Thee that we will live in a land bountifully able to supply all our needs, a land which still by Thy providence knows peace, whose skies are not darkened by the machines of the enemy, whose fields and woodlands are still unblasted by the flames of war, a land with peaceful valleys and smiling meadows still serene.

0 help us to appreciate all that we have, to be content with it, to be grateful for it, to be proud of it — not in an arrogant pride that boasts, but in a grateful pride that strives to be more worthy.

In Thy name, to whose bounty we owe these blessings spread before us, to Thee we give our gratitude. Amen.

— Peter Marshall

"What God Promised"

God has not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God has not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God has promised strength for the day,
Rest for the weary, light for the way,
Grace for the trails, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

— Annie Johnson Flint

Some Call It Autumn
A haze on the far horizon, The infinite, tender sky,
The ripe, rich tint of cornfields, And wild geese sailing high;
And all over upland and lowland The charm of the goldenrod,
Some of us call it Autumn, And others call it God.

— J. Winston Pearce,

The Window Sill of Heaven

We dedicate this issue of Seasons to those who have died and whose families we served from August 20, 1991, to November 17, 1991.

Mrs. Myrtle McClougher Parks 8/20/91

Mrs. Betty Clemmons Christman 8/21/91

Mr. Edward Sayles Butler 8/23/91

Kane Lovelett Taylor 8/23/91

Mrs. Elsie French Woods 8/26/91

Mrs. Hazel Bunch Cole 9/1/91

Mrs. Phyllis Ellington Derrico 9/4/91

Mr. R. L. Mack’ McMillan 9/9/91

Mr. Henry Boy Smith, Jr. 9/12/91

Mr. Edgar Lafaun Moss 9/14/91

Mr. Donald Arthur Thomas 9/16/91

Mr. John Thomas "Red’ Williams 9/17/91

Mrs. Ozell Smith Jones 9/18/91

Mrs. Beulah Stephens McLarty 9/23/91

Mr. Clinton Howell Waldrip 9/24/91

Mrs. Elizabeth Franklin Windham 9/26/91

Mrs. Cenabel Walker Bowen 9/26/91

Mr. Willie Frank Coleman 9/29/91

Mrs. Mabelle Stinson Keen 10/1/91

Dr. Mary Josephine Cliatt 10/2/91

Mrs. Carolyn McMillan Rogers 10/5/91

Mr. Dewey McLarty 10/11/91

Mrs. Mae Welch Vines 10/12/91

Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Furr 10/15/91

Mrs. Shelby Mize Montgomery 10/17/91

Mrs. Lucile Brewer Bruce 10/21/91

Mr. William Wade Johnson 10/23/91

Mrs. Kathryn Davis Hipp 10/26/91

Mrs. Lucille Taylor 10/26/91

Mr. Robert Dean Nelson 11/2/91

Mrs. Ludie Bowles Johnson 11/5/91

Mrs. Vonie Sullivan McCord 11/12/91

Mrs. Dorothy Richey 11/13/91

Mrs. Rubye Helms Hannaford 11/14/91

Mr. Boyce Kendol Collins 11/15/91


We are sending copies of a pamphlet, After the Loss. Coping with the Holidays, and an article relating to the first Christmas since the death of a loved one to members of families we have served since last Christmas. If you know of someone else who you think would benefit from these, please call us (662-234-7971). We gladly share these with anyone whom they might help.

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