It’s Easter season in the South. The dogwoods are blooming. The azaleas are pink enough to take your breath away. The pollen is sending people to the ER.
I’m covering the arrival of Easter, and it’s big in the Southeastern United States. Here, the world comes unglued. This is the time of year when small country churches get so many visitors, cars have to park on the lawn.
Sometimes, the excitement is too much for local pastors to bear.
Last year, for instance, Pastor Jeremy Parker of Greene County, Tennessee, made Easter memorable for his congregation. He decided to preach a sermon while dressed like the risen Savior.
He wore a long white robe which his wife had sewn, and carried a shepherd’s staff.
His assistant pastor wanted to take things a step further. He masked the sanctuary windows with black paper and pointed a spotlight on the pastor to better portray the splendor of the risen Lord.
On Easter morning, the church was packed—standing room only. The lights went off, the church went dark. The spotlight hit Pastor Jeremy and—I’m sorry to say—his paper-thin tunic became semi-transparent.
The children of Israel could see his outline beneath the robe. And everyone knew without a doubt that the pastor did not believe in underpants.
Now, if Pastor Jeremy would’ve attempted this in, say, Ann Arbor, Michigan, they would’ve hauled him away to a padded cell. But this was not Michigan.
Pilgrim’s Primitive Baptist, in Dallas County, is going to bring livestock into their sanctuary this Easter. I spoke to a deacon about it.
“We originally wanted lambs,” said Albert Dillard. “And we were gonna have a donkey, too, since Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.”
Albert made some phone calls, but no luck. Nobody had lambs. No donkeys, either.
But all was not lost. Albert was able to secure several Red Rock chickens, a few goats, and a mule. One church member was even generous enough to let the church use his ostrich.
Albert has lined the sanctuary with plastic drop cloths because, in his own words: “Ostrich and goats make big messes.”
And of course, I don’t want to forget to tell you about Bishop Ricky Moore, in Shreveport, Louisiana.
A few years ago, the bishop wanted members of his congregation to experience an Easter resurrection like never before.
One deacon suggested locking the bishop in a coffin for three days without food, water, or toilet, then unlocking him on Sunday morning. Bishop Ricky loved the idea.
I know, I know. You’re probably wanting to know if the idea was a success. Well, let’s just say Ricky made the six-o’clock news.
So is this a big weekend? You bet. And why shouldn’t it be? It’s when we celebrate things we believe in, and watch them come to life before our eyes.
It’s when you can ride through rural hamlets and see wooden crosses perched in every front yard, hillside, and clapboard church.
It’s my favorite time of year. When the maintenance man from our church changes the purple cloth on the cross by the highway to a white cloth.
It’s when Mama wears her hat. When Sunday dinner is big, and open to strangers. When we visit meeting houses our grandparents were baptized in.
When we sing the melodies our ancestors sang.
When girls wear brand new dresses, and boys wear neckties. It’s when ministers shout, “He is risen!” And we, the redeemed of Zion, shout back—
Well, you know the rest.
So, from me and mine to you: I hope you have the happiest dadgum Easter. I wish you sweet tea, baked ham, potato salad, and all the love you can stand.
And above all.
I hope Pastor Jeremy wears briefs this year.
John - March 30, 2018 5:37 am
Cathi - March 30, 2018 5:41 am
Sean, my giggle box has been tumpted over ALL day and you just did it again. I hope brother Jeremy finds his drawers again but at this point I don’t think I can possibility any harder. Cause , you see, nobody can make me laugh any harder than Pinto the horse playing possum. Nice try tho!!!
Gary - March 30, 2018 9:41 am
I don’t know whether to laugh, cry or blush. That poor, poor pastor ! It’s never a good time to be in the spotlight when you’re not wearing your drawers.
Connie - March 30, 2018 10:56 am
Happy Easter to you and yours Sean. God bless and keep you now and always. Love and hugs.
Sandi in FL - March 30, 2018 11:13 am
Sean, I really like your sketch of the church that accompanies this post. You’re blessed with artistic talent, too! Sometimes I cannot read the name on the drawings, but from henceforth, will look more closely, or are they all done by you? Happiest Easter to you and Jamie on Sunday.
mimifran - March 30, 2018 12:26 pm
Sean, I so look forward to your posts everyday and I loved this one. Reminds me of words my Dad used so often……dadgummit and dadblamit! Isn’t the South wonderful?
shanatproctorgmailcom - March 30, 2018 1:31 pm
He is risen indeed! Happy Easter, Sean! I hope you get plenty of ham, potato salad, and banana pudding.
Carol Houston Rothwell - March 30, 2018 1:32 pm
Happy Easter Sean,To you & Yours,
May his Light shine on you!
Sherry - March 30, 2018 1:43 pm
Its when Mama used dress me in pink and my sister in blue…in identical dresses, hats and socks with sandals! I was miserable….now I’d wear that again if they could be here with me…but because it’s Easter I know I’ll see them again. Thanks Sean!
Martha Dalton Childs - March 30, 2018 2:11 pm
You are the master of word pictures! I bet the pastor’s church will be full to the brim this year! Happy Easter to you and your long-suffering wife!?
Lynn Poling - March 30, 2018 2:15 pm
Amen!!!!! Your bring joy to my day everyday. I have shared your facebook page/pod cast with many of my friends. God is blessing you and so many others through you!
Catherine - March 30, 2018 2:26 pm
Jack Darnell - March 30, 2018 2:35 pm
I just had to repeat Carol ::: Carol Houston Rothwell – March 30, 2018 1:32 pm
Happy Easter Sean,To you & Yours,
May his Light shine on you!
Janice Barfield - March 30, 2018 3:29 pm
Sean, I just joined your fan club and I must say, YOU ARE PRICELESS! God bless you, brother, now and always. Happy Easter.
Sandra Smith - March 30, 2018 3:34 pm
You forgot the Easter Egg Hunt !
For us, it was always held at Grandma’s, after Church, while Grandma & Mama & all the Aunt’s got dinner ready. Eggs were dyed on Saturday, hid, EARLY Sunday morning, and hunted by the kids, while grown-ups supervised & rotated kitchen duty with EEH duty. It is a basket full of Rockin’chair memories for me, and now for my kids. Still waiting on grandbabies to make memories for !
Happy Easter, Sean
God Bless You !
Jakki - March 30, 2018 3:34 pm
Happy Easter! Thanks for sharing those stories – hilarious!
muthahun - March 30, 2018 3:52 pm
Had to go and tell my boys about Pastor Jeremy… and I’m reminded of a certain communion with a new student minister back in the ’60’s. The small island off the coast of Maine where I grew up always ran about 20 years or so behind the times, so when this ‘youngster’ showed up in his cowboy boots and a white robe of homespun rather than the somber black robes we were used to, there was a collective gasp, but things settled down. When the first old ladies tossed back what they thought was grape juice and discovered it was Ripple tho… that was almost too much. Thanks for the chuckles, Sean. Dress for the spotlights!
GERALD DOWLING - March 30, 2018 4:22 pm
Sean, on the Eastern side of Lower Alabama, some of us addressed our Mothers as Momma. It was a shock to discover others prefer Mama. But any way you spell it; HAPPY EASTER
Wendy Franks - March 30, 2018 4:35 pm
Lovely & humorous at the same time!
Jack Quanstrum - March 30, 2018 4:40 pm
You put a smile on my face this morning, Sean. Thank you!
Sarah Loudin Thomas - March 30, 2018 6:24 pm
He is risen, indeed!!! Too many folks forget to use multiple exclamation points.
Trina - March 30, 2018 9:39 pm
Bill Terry - March 31, 2018 12:41 am
All you said Sean but is also the day we can go back to barefoot for the summer, even to school!
Melanie - March 31, 2018 2:18 am
Thank you Sean. A blessed Easter to you and your family.
Julie - March 31, 2018 2:42 pm
What a wonderful story! Happy Easter to you and your family!
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - March 31, 2018 7:11 pm
Happy Easter to you too!! And thank you for the chuckle — I even read this to my Honey.
thefabulousflamingo - March 31, 2018 8:03 pm
This absolutely made my day. Period. Born and “raised” right here in Tennessee…southern Baptist church. I must say we never witnessed anything quite so colorful as the services you mentioned. The closest we came was listening to Billy Graham one Sunday night on radios some of parishioners brought. Oh, and I was an angel with a tinsel halo for Christmas plays. My white sheet fashioned into an appropriate outfit for an angel was perfect and I had on ample clothing underneath. Unlike…well. Oh my. Thanks for this. I love it.
Carolyn Kelley (Greene county TN)☺️ - April 21, 2019 10:59 am
Amy - April 21, 2019 1:28 pm
Happy Resurrection Sunday to you and yours, Sean….indeed! ?✝?
Mary Ann Massey - April 22, 2019 2:05 am
Fantastic article as always! Love, love, love your posts!