Friday, February 14, 2014

DEVOTION: As Sounding Brass by Pam Ford Davis

I straighten my tie; readjust my over-ear connection to the microphone and step up to the podium. Facing my affluent congregation, I smile.

“Good morning. Thank you for choosing Trinity as your place of worship. Visitors, please fill out a guest card located in the hymnal rack in front of you.” (Pause)

“Note all pertinent information in your bulletins and scrolling upon the overhead screens.” I move back to my plush altar seat and pick up my leather bound hymnal. The 30-ish music director is the picture of success in his $300 suit. He saunters up to the platform to lead the downtown congregation in song.
“Please stand and join me in the singing of verses one, two and four of “Amazing Grace,” page 177 in your pew hymnals and currently showing on the screens.” I begin singing the familiar lyrics of John Newton. Yes, grace is amazing.

At the close of verse four, the congregation returns to padded pews. Standing, I invite ushers to come forward to receive the morning offering. The head usher leads in a solemn prayer before our organist encourages us with her rendition of “Count Your Blessings.” Stately men with hankies neatly tucked in suit coat pockets pass offering plates down pews.
In step, they then carry them forward. As sounding brass, offering plates come to rest upon the Lord’s Supper table. I raise my hands.

“Let us pray. Father, I sense the presence of your Holy Spirit in the countenance of your people, and through their voices united in praise. I ask for a special anointing upon me-your messenger. Lord, forgive us where we have failed you and guide in the remainder of this service. In the name of your Son Jesus, we pray. Amen.”

I flash a smile as my flock re-directs their attention from prayer to worship.
“We are in for a real treat this morning! The mother and daughters, Griffin Trio, are going to bless us with a medley of Gaither songs. Let’s give them a warm Trinity welcome!” 

The sound of applause resonates from the cathedral ceiling as the trio opens with “He Touched Me.” As the vocalists leave the stage to find their seats, I walk forward to the pulpit, open my King James Bible and shoot up a silent prayer.

“This morning’s text is in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 10, verses 25-37. Please rise for the reading of God’s word.” The flipping of Bible pages is music to my ears. At the conclusion of the scripture passage the crowd of three hundred sits down and I begin my exhortation.

“For those of you who take notes, an outline for today’s sermon is on the back of your bulletin. Power Points are on the screens as well. I have titled today’s message “Neighbor in Need.”

1. Neighbor Identified

2. Neighbor Hurting

3. Neighbor Tended

I proceed to share Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan. I perceive reactions from alert-involved to half asleep-tuned out. Those who are involved follow the text in their Bibles, nod in agreement and Amen in affirmation.

Have I put across my three points?

I glance down at my Rolex, noting it is time for my summation. The instrumentalists make their way to the baby grand and organ.

Will people respond?

“Unless we apply what we have learned, we are hearers only. Will you help a stranger?” People reverently nod in the affirmative.

“On that note, a transient was critically injured in a hit-and-run accident. It occurred in front of our church early this morning.” Hearing of the tragedy, worshipers come to attention. I proceed.

“The comatose young man entered our country illegally.” People begin to squirm in their seats.

“How many of you can meet with me at St. Luke’s ICU at 12:30?”

Pam Ford Davis was born and raised in Central NY State. She is a wife, mother and grandmother, currently living on a gourd farm in rural community of Epps, Home of historical Poverty Point Indian Mounds. With a twenty-year career in both radio and television, she has interest in music and media. She also collects teapots and old hymnals.

Pam is a freelance writer of both fiction and non-fiction, with devotional writing her first love. She has had articles published in Mature Living Magazine, Devotions for the Deaf, The Secret Place, Light from the Word, Coosa Journal and more. 


  1. Ooh, how uncomfortable. Maybe it sounds a little judgmental, but I know where she's coming from. We can get trapped by all the outward habits of worship and muffle the spirit of love and sharing.

  2. I absolutely loved this! Pam, your fiction techniques are obviously well honed. You put me in this pastor's shoes, and I was uncomfortable with all the trappings. I began not to like him very well -- until he offered the invitation.

    Beautifully done! No one can read this and not rethink his definition of neighbor.

  3. Thanks so much to each who took time to post encouraging comments....

    Wing His Words,

  4. Pam, thank you again for being willing to share. This story is so close to the bone. How easy it is to agree with the "good sermon". How tough it can be when challenged to put the message into practice!

  5. Wonderful Piece Pam! God bless you for making some of us squirm under the light of your revealing fiction.