Mt. Olive Methodist Church was just up the road from the house where I grew up, at the top of a steep gravel hill. Many a sticky summer day, my brothers and I would ride our bikes or walk the dogs to the church and back. If we rode our bikes, I had to be careful–the hill going down from the church entrance was a big one. Most of the time, I walked my bike down, while my brothers left me literally in their dust. The few times I worked up the nerve to ride my bike down the hill, I ended up falling.
Even though we weren’t members there, I always felt comfortable inside the church. Looking back, I realize why.
The Holy Spirit was there. For the Israelites in the wilderness, He appeared as a cloud by day and fire by night. The Church symbolizes His presence with water. A mighty wind. A whisper. In my childhood, the Spirit of God rested right by my side at Mt. Olive Church. The church never locked its doors, so it was always open to me. I know they say people make up the church, but those four walls meant church to me as much as any group ever has.
I’d run up the four carpeted stairs to the red front doors. Opening these, you’d enter a small foyer. I always wondered who it was that thought to put the wooden swinging doors between the foyer and the sanctuary, but it must have been a smart individual who realized these doors wouldn’t make as much noise when a squirmy child has to be taken out of the service. My mom could have used doors like that, in our own church, with an unruly daughter like me.
I spent hours “playing church” at Mt. Olive. I’d sing and play piano from the hymn book and give mock sermons to whichever dolls I’d brought with me. There was always an altar call at the end. Later, that same altar called to me in some of my darkest moments as well. To this day, I do my most serious business with God at altars. Click here to head on over to You Are Here Stories and read about my memories of this very special country church.