Thou hast sustained me with solitude,
Trodden down, my soul is restored.
All your words build me up,
Them that err are blinded by thirst,
From thy statutes run streams of refreshment.
For their cooling waters abound with mercy,
Deceit is drowning,
Falsehood sinks into darkness.
Hold back the wind, unleash the Spirit,
Thou, me, we, made perfect in one.
Up in your way, lost in light,
And I find satisfaction in the Only Son.
Shall be, that the world might know,
Safe in the arms of God;
And I rejoice in that embrace,
Will have loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Respect unto the Father,
Thy statutes given before the foundation of the world;
Continually, the wind blows, the Spirit speaks.
Shiloh Baptist Church has a motto, “We’re the friendliest bunch in town.”
Janice Waterman noticed something at church one day that made her question the motto. Janice married into the Waterman family and Shiloh was where the family attended. She never approached Shiloh as a first time visitor because she was always Bill’s girlfriend, fiancé, or wife. One Sunday morning she walked through the vestibule just as a new couple entered the building for the first time.
The greeter was having a very loud conversation with one of his buddies and paid no attention to the visitors. This startled Janice. So she watched how they were treated the rest of the morning. No one greeted them during the “fellowship” time, no one gave them a welcome packet, no one sat with them or asked them their names. When the service was over they left as they came in, with no one speaking to them.
Janice addressed her concerns to the pastor and the elders. She spoke to the greeter chairperson. She talked to the worship leader but no one seemed to notice or care. She decided she would address the church leadership board and let them know about her concerns.
They told her she didn’t understand the history and tradition of the motto and that she shouldn’t contradict their carefully crafted saying. She said, “But it isn’t true!” Several on the board got mad and told Janice to remember her place; she was a Waterman and criticizing the church meant criticizing her family.
Janice wrote a letter and mailed it to the membership. She got angry phone calls and threats. At the next business session she was brought up on charges and removed from membership. All this because Shiloh Baptist Church is the “friendliest bunch in town.”
What has happened to Shiloh?
What can be done to change things?
What should Janice do?
I have no patience during anxious hours,
Inclined to worry and stress.
Mine heart is weak in your word,
To perform your will would be my greatest victory.
Thy statutes are storm-breakers,
Even unto the hour of truth,
The end, now in view.