Bottom Rail on Top

In Ken Burn’s epic Civil War documentary, legendary historian Shelby Foote told the story of a slave who ran away from his master, joined the Union army and came back through the South and seized his own master’s plantation with his regiment. Seeing his former master in a lineup of captured Confederates, he says, “Bottom rail on top this time, Massah. Bottom rail’s on top now.”fences

That is quite a role reversal.

My current hospital foray – the first of my life – has put me in the category of living out a role reversal. I’m the patient, not the clergy visitor.

Yesterday, I looked up from my hospital bed at the doorway, and there stood Larry and Joyce Coffin. We just looked at each other for a couple of seconds, and all three of us broke into laughter like a group of elementary schoolgirls. Over the years and through all the surgeries and hospitalizations they have endured, I have very often visited them! About 30 seconds behind them, Ed and Sylvia House walked in, and we had to explain what we were giggling about.

IMG_0827[1]We all need each other at different times, and that is why the Christian life is supposed to be done as a group and shared experience in this thing called the church, even if certain idiosyncrasies or whatever that we all have become occasional annoyance factors. We can’t really make it alone; we’re in it together. So… spend all the time you can serving others, because a day is going to come when you need what someone else has that you do not at the moment possess.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.