Here are my thoughts for the ‘Back Page” of the Fishkill UMC bulletin for this coming Sunday, October 6, 2019 (17th Sunday after Pentecost, Year C). This is also World Communion Sunday.
Yes, I know that Grinder’s Switch*, like it’s northern counterpart, Lake Wobegon, is simply the product of the fertile imagination of its most famous inhabitant. But just as I have found towns that could replicate the life of Lake Wobegon, I have also found towns that could replicate Grinder’s Switch. The main difference is that while there are only two churches in Lake Wobegon, there are probably several churches in Grinder’s Switch. The United Methodist Church has been a part of Grinder’s Switch since the first settlers came through the Cumberland Gap and settled into the rich heartland of Tennessee.
It is a church that has survived its share of war (there is a rumor that several Union soldiers are buried in the church’s cemetery) and hard times. For a while, the church relied on lay speakers and the monthly circuit rider but they now have a regular pastor, Pastor Lucy. Oh sure, there were some who don’t like that their pastor is a woman but they do admit she does know the Bible and when she preaches the Gospel, you can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Society’s lines were always clearly drawn in Grinder’s Switch but, while some still try to draw them, they have faded. Even when the lines were almost walls, the people of Grinder’s Switch knew who needed help and how to get it to them.
There is always a sense of welcome at the GSUMC. That’s not to say all is perfect but the people know that the future is theirs to behold.
And while Pastor Lucy will never share the pulpit with her counterpart in the local Southern Baptist church, she and the other pastors are putting together a community Thanksgiving service and potluck dinner. And the choir at Grinder’s Switch UMC has even challenged the choir of the local Pentecostal church to a Gospel sing-off.
There is a peace in Grinder’s Switch, not the peace that blocks out the distractions of the world but the peace that comes when one builds God’s Kingdom in this time and in one’s own little corner of God’s world.
As just as the lay leader at the Grinder’s Switch is likely to use “How – dee!” as part of the call to the worship, so too does the invitation that “you all come!” come from the heart and the soul.
“Grinder’s Switch is just outside Nashville, TN, and is the fictional home of Minnie Pearl of the Grand Ole Opry. If I am not mistaken, this is how Garrison Keillor got the idea for Lake Wobegon.” ~~ Tony