The 400-year-old Bible had been sitting in a glass case with a sign saying it was original, but no one in St. Laurence knew whether to believe it. Thankfully, they decided to have an expert look at it. He immediately verified the Bible as being from 1611.
Seeing as how that Bible is older than our entire nation, there is no way we could have such ancient treasures lying around American sanctuaries. However, thinking about some Baptist churches I know, I’m pretty sure we could find some historic artifacts lying around.
I give you my word that I will avoid the easy joke of calling “the old deacon sitting in the pew” a historic artifact. All other easy jokes, however, are fair game. Here are the top 5 possible ancient treasures in a Baptist church.
|Photo from Sxc.hu by Rob Owen-Wahl|
5. Fossilized, lint-covered starlight mint – You and I both know somewhere under a pew in the corner Baptist church there is a mint that fell out of some old lady’s purse and it has attracted the entire dust bunny population of the church. It lays there, biding it’s time, slowly growing into a monstrosity that will eventually destroy the church. One day, that thing’s going to go all The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
It could be lurking in the hymnbook tray (kids, ask your parents what a “hymnbook” is) on the back of the pew (go ahead and find out what a “pew” is while you at it) ready to pounce on the next kid who shoves his gum wrapper down on top of it. That mint is old, crusty and possibly worth millions by now.
4. Enough fake Roman guard costumes to clothe an entire fake Roman army – It’s time for the church Easter play, but who’s going to be what? Do you have a guy with long hair and a beard? Obviously, he’s Jesus. A bunch of women and kids? They are the generic “crowd.” But what about the other men, who can’t be Jesus – who can they be? Roman guard.
Roman guards are the “shepherds” of the Easter play. Have a man who needs a role? If it’s Christmas, he’s a shepherd. If it’s Easter, he’s now part of the Roman hoard. Some one in the church family has a lot of time and a lot of fabric, so they make Roman guard costumes … every year. Those faux-uniforms start collecting until it looks like a first century battalion is stationed in your church basement.
3. Original Flannelgraph Jesus – Do Flannelgraphs exist outside of the four walls of a church building? I’ve never seen them anywhere else, but churches love some flannel story telling.
How do I spice up the story about Jesus walking on water? I know! I will cover a board in flannel, put some paper waves on it, stick up a boat with some paper disciples and slap a paper Jesus on top of the waves. If paper and fabric don’t get the amazing nature of a miracle by the Son of God what could?
In the basement of some country church in “the room,” you know “the room.” There is lying under some fake Roman guard costumes an original, mint condition Flannelgraph Jesus, just waiting to be discovered … and slapped back up on a board to teach some kindergarten about Jesus loving the little children.
2. Package of off-brand Kool-Aid for 1970’s VBS – For starters why does Flavor-Aid even exist? It’s not like Kool-Aid is crazy expensive. Who is looking at those two packets and thinking that they couldn’t swing an extra nickel for the real thing? Secondly, why does every church refuse to buy actual Kool-Aid to serve at Vacation Bible School? Is it not a bit creepy especially for religious groups to serve mass quantities of Flavor-Aid.
Besides, it’s basically the one event a year you are guaranteed to have visitors for the community in your church building. It’s your chance to make an impression on them. You can show them the love, grace and hope found in Christ. Instead, you decide to display extreme frugality by saving 25¢ and avoiding the Kool-Aid Man. One problem. Kids love the Kool-Aid Man. Oh Yeah! You? VBS fail.
1. Bottle of grape juice on its way to becoming wine – The rarest sight of them all – alcohol in a Baptist church. In the refrigerator, there is always that one bottle from a few Lord’s Suppers ago. No one is quite sure how long it’s been in there, but no one wants to “waste” it. So it just stays there, fermenting, becoming less Baptist by the day. It’s moving away from Baptist and the South, through Methodist, past Lutherans, all the way into Northern Catholic territory.
Eventually, the bottle gets pushed so far to the back of the fridge it’s like an Indiana Jones adventure to find it and bring it out. You have to complete a Bible drill while dodging poison darts, use the lyrics of Just As I Am to navigate a deadly maze and know how to walk down the aisle blindfolded in order to stake claim to the blessed bottle.
Once you grab it though, you’d better head for the exit. The VBS director will try to switch it with grape Flavor-Aid. Not to mention, the fake Roman military, along with Fuzzy Starlight Mint Man, will be after you as well. Before you decide to drink it, you should know that Flannelgraph Jesus is always watching you … well as long as you are wearing felt, otherwise you’re pretty much oblivious to him.
What other ancient treasures are lurking in old church buildings? I’m Baptist, so I only know about Baptist treasures. What’s hidden in your church’s basement or storage room?
This is an edited repost. Funny takes time and effort, neither of which I have in abundance right now. I’m hunting for the lost treasure of a finished research paper and a semester completed.