“Just As I Am” and a Memory of Jesus in an Old Pinewood Chapel

This morning as I was leaving for the door, thinking about a day’s work, concerned about many things, I was stopped in my tracks. By what? My son was practicing piano. And he was playing, “Just As I Am” on the piano. I stopped with my hand on the door knob, entranced by the warm reality of Jesus the Lord standing with me, and all of a sudden I was carried away in my spirit to another time and another place. I was a little boy, standing amidst the pine pews of the “Tabernacle,” next to Aunt Eva, sawdust on the floor and the aroma stinging my nostrils, and being swallowed up, completely and gloriously, by the singing of a little country congregation on a summer evening in South Louisiana. With accordion and piano, they were singing “Just As I Am.” It gripped my heart then as it did this morning. I knew, then, during that hymn, that God was calling me, calling me to Himself, and to follow Him…and yes, I was a five-year old boy. It can happen. But there would be many years between that moment, when I climbed into the old pulpit after everyone was gone and played preacher, to the days when I would climb into the pulpit as a minister of the Gospel and announce, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Thank God, though, for His Spirit who not only awakens us, but draws us, patiently to Himself. “Where did you find God today?” I have asked in my recent book, Big Things, Small Things. Well, I answered my own question this morning. I found God in a moment and in a hymn and in a memory.


About Michael A. Milton, Ph.D.

Michael A. Milton, Ph.D., MPA (University of Wales; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), is an American Presbyterian pastor, theologian, and author.
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