• A Vermonter was the only person to show up for early morning church services, so the minister asked the Vermonter what they should do. The Vermonter replied, “When I take a load of hay out into the field to feed the cows, and only one cow shows up, I don’t turn her away hungry.” Hearing this, the minister preached to his audience of one a sermon well over an hour long, and then he asked the Vermonter what he thought of the sermon. The Vermonter replied, “When I take a load of hay out into the field to feed the cows, and only one cow shows up, I don’t make her eat the whole load.”
• According to Quakers, speaking in unprogrammed meeting is not something that can be planned; instead, it is a matter of divine inspiration. John Warren attended a meeting in Maine, where people expected that he would speak. However, he didn’t feel the Holy Spirit calling him to say anything, so he remained silent. After an hour in which no one spoke, the meeting was over, and Mr. Warren started walking out of the meetingplace. He overheard one boy tell another, “Didn’t that beat the devil!” Mr. Warren turned around and told the boy, “That is what it is intended to do.”
• The Quakers, aka Friends, perform social (and religious) service as well as attend religious meetings. They often hold unprogrammed meetings in which people are silent unless someone feels moved to speak. A person who knew nothing about Quakers attended a meeting and waited and waited for something to happen, but everyone remained silent. Finally, he nudged a Quaker and asked, “When does the service begin?” The Quaker replied, “The service begins when the meeting ends.”
• Mark Twain attended the church of his friend, the Reverend Joseph Twichell, and he became very interested in the sermon. After the church service was over, Mr. Twain told Reverend Twichell, “Joe, this mustn’t happen again. When I go to church, I go for a good rest and quiet nap. Today I haven’t been able to get a single wink. I tell you it won’t do; and it must not happen again.”
• Ballerina Margot Fonteyn seldom attended church as a child, because her mother believed in letting children go to church only when they wanted. Why did Margot’s mother believe that? Because when she was a little girl, she had been forced each Sunday to attend church three times. As a grownup, she went to church only for weddings.
• A Sunday School teacher asked her class, “What do you think about when you see the church doors open to everyone who wants to worship God here?” An African-American student answered, “It’s like walking into the heart of God.”
• After first arriving in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin attended a silent Quaker meeting. He fell asleep and did not wake until someone roused him when the meeting was over.
• Reb Simcha loved and admired his father, Reb Elchanan. When Reb Elchanan’s shoes wore out, he gave his young son money to buy a new pair. When his son returned with the shoes, Reb Elchanan put them on and walked about. Seeing that his father looked perturbed, young Simcha asked what was wrong. Reb Elchanan replied, “My son, the laces upset me. I usually don’t wear shoes with laces. Now I will have to spend time lacing my shoes, unlacing them when a lace breaks, tying them in the morning, untying them at night; they will require precious time that could be used instead for learning.”
• A very stupid man had trouble getting dressed every morning because he could not find his clothes. One day, he had the idea of writing down where he put his clothes when he went to bed. The next morning, he looked at the writing, found his pants and put them on, then he looked at the writing again, found his shirt and put it on, and so on. But when he was dressed, he said, “But where am I? Where in the World am I?” He looked and looked, but he could not find where he was in the World. According to Rabbi Hanokh, we are like this man: We cannot find ourselves and we do not know where we are in the World.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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