Sermon delivered on June 9, 1940 and was entitled If the Old Pews Could Speak
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Most all of you have seen and used the old Pews which just this week have been removed to make room for these fine, comfortable new seats.
The other day as I was thinking about this service, there came to my mind the question: What if those old Pews could speak -- what a story they 'would tell?
If you remember them, you know well the story they seemed to tell by their very appearance. As straight and sturdy as they had been once, their frames now weaved as you sat down into the straight back seats; scars covered their surface; a piece was missing here, and a rai1 protruding there.
If we could hear the story of every scratch and every mark on those old Pews, it would be an interesting story indeed.
However today let us imagine for a few moments what they might tell about these 33 years that have passed:
It was as we were standing all alone in the old Presbyterian Church in North Laramie one morning that some men came in and starte4 carrying us one by one out into two big wagons. 1t was a warm morning in the early summer and the flies were beginning to make the horses stamp and switch their tails.
Before we knew it, we were bumping our way over all those railroad tracks and beading west toward the mountains.
It was an awful road we took rocks and rocks and rocks. We rode along the edge of the Big Hollow, and it seemed like an awful long time. Finally, we came to a ranch house where the men had their lunch and watered and fed the horses.
But soon we started on and the shiny varnish on our boards got pretty hot in the afternoon sun, and once it started to sprinkle and the men were afraid we'd be spoiled but it soon stopped.
Then we came to a nice mountain stream and as we crossed it, the water came up almost to our legs - and the horses stopped to get a cool drink.
Finally as we get closer to the mountains we saw a new little church standing there beside a school house. The chairs they had used for a while they pushed into a corner and in we went, and. before very long we were all arranged ready to do our job.
Then Sunday came - why you never thought there were so many horses and buggies in the whole state.
And the ladies all dressed in their leg-o-mutton sleeves and their high collars. The men in their best cowboy boots and hats and dark mustaches.
Then they sang several hymns and Rev. Woods read the Scripture and preached the dedication sermon and everybody seemed proud of their new church.
After church was out we saw that some one had written on the hymnbook cover, "John loves Bertha," "Nate loves Annie."
It was a nice place to be: we could look out the windows and see old Jelm and Sheep Mountain rising from the plains, and once in a while a herd of elk or deer would wander down into the Meadows.
Often the people would come and worship in this little church, and as the years past they came to call it the Harmony Church.
One day I remember so well, there came to the church a bashful looking young girl and a young man all flustered, and they came forward and the minister asked:
"Cord. wilt thou have this woman to be thy wedded wife. to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honor and keep her in sickness and in health. and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto her. so long as ye both shall live."
And as they took these vows, I couldn't help but feel that they meant what they were saying - to death us do part - and that two lives had been made one.
Another time I remember so plainly--it was just ten years after the cornerstone had been laid. A dear old 1ady came into the church all alone and knelt there in front of us, and she prayed a prayer I will never forget. Tears streamed down her eyes as she said:
"Oh Dear God, bring back my boys safely from the War - if it be thy will, bring peace to our world. Amen."
And then she knelt there in silence for a while and went out.
Oh, I forgot to tell of the time they had so much excitement here - it was back in 1913. They were just getting ready for the service and then everybody heard the awfullest noise, and the horses began to rare up and pull at the hitching post, and finally they realized what it was all about.
A fellow from Laramie had bought one of those new horseless carriages, and was driving out to the service. And oh, how the girls gasped when he told them how, he had driven out in two hours and a half.
Services were held in our church, sometimes regular - then for a long time there weren't any and we weren't dusted, or used.
Then the other day we saw some men carrying in some brand new seats - and before we knew it, we were carried out as they were put in our place.
They did look a lot better, and we knew they would be a lot more comfortable than we were.
For now all the people come in soft cushioned cars and besides, we were getting pretty old.
I can't help but remember that first dedication service. Always I remembered Reverend Woods' words: "To the Glory of God."
We can't help but feel that we have done that in this little church all these years and we know the new seats are going to keep on the good work.
When we get blue, we can't help but remember a verse of one of the old hymns that they used to sing so often:
"Crowns and thrones may perish,
Kingdoms rise and wane,
But the Church of Jesus
Constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never
'Gainst that Church prevail;
We have Christ's own promise,
And that cannot fail!"
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