No Place Is so Dear

I am walking my dogs through a residential neighborhood. I pass a house with open windows and an open door. I hear an old piano playing. Music drifts from the windows, out to the street.

I stop walking to listen. The music reminds me of the feeling you get when you smell fresh bread.

There is something about the way freshly baked bread smells. It’s euphoric. Whenever I get homemade bread, I don’t eat it all at once. I keep it around so I can smell it. I usually do this before bed. That’s right, I sniff bread. They have support groups for this.

So that’s what this music is like. Bread. It’s a warm, soft sound.

What is this song? I know this tune. It takes me a few seconds.

“Up From the Grave He Arose” is the melody. The international Easter song of Baptists everywhere. This is the springtime anthem of my childhood.

See, every denomination has its own favorite Easter hymn. The Methodists love “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” because it was written by John Wesley, who, in case you aren’t up on your history, was the founder of chicken broccoli casserole and Dixie-cup baptism.

The Pentecostals sing clapping songs. The Presbyterians don’t even clap at football games. And for Easter singing, the Church of Christ people march down the street to the Methodist church and set fire to the piano.

But we Baptists sing, “Up From the Grave He Arose.” And at least we did at my church. There are two sections to this song. The first section is done slow, like a funeral dirge:

“Looooowww in the Grave he lay,
“Jeeeeeeee-zussss my saay-vior…”

But when you get to the second section, you’re supposed to sing it “bright and lively.” Our piano player, Miss Betty, would bounce back and forth on her stool like she was playing ragtime piano on the Ed Sullivan Show. The congregation would sway back and forth grinning while the fire department extinguished the fire at the Methodist church across the street.

There are people gathered on this neighborhood curb. We are all standing at least ten feet apart, listening. We have been quarantining ourselves for twenty-some days. This is live music. We haven’t heard much of that lately.

The piano plays another hymn. I recognize this one too. “Oh come to the church in the wildwood…”

Good Lord. An American beauty. The tune goes by different names: “Church in the Wildwood,” or “Little Brown Church in the Vale.” Some even call it “Little Brown Church in the Dale.” We don’t know why some people do this. Perhaps these people are weirdos who sniff bread for kicks.

This was one of my grandmother’s favorite gospel tunes. The words are universal:

“No spot is so dear to my childhood,
“As the little brown church in the vale…”

I think of my own childhood. The way our little church sat in the distance, nestled in the grass. It seems like so long ago, people were so different back then. The food was so rich, the memories were even richer.

Did it all really happen? Did Carolyn Andress really almost drown because the pastor baptized her at the exact moment she sneezed and she aspirated? Did the ambulance really have to be called? And did Brother Kenny actually try to get one of the EMTs to repent?

Did the guy who played Jesus in our Easter pageant really fall off the cross once during the play? And did his little diaper come loose so that he was standing in front of a hundred people wearing only Fruit of the Looms? And did he actually finish the entire scene wearing only his underpants?

Did I really walk up to the pastor one Sunday when I heard the song “Softly and Tenderly” playing on the piano for invitation? Did I sit beside him at the front pew because I missed my late father so bad that I didn’t know what else to do? I didn’t want to kneel at the altar during the invitation because I didn’t want everyone thinking I was a sinner who watched “Charlie’s Angels” or “Three’s Company,” which I have never done.

The preacher simply placed his arm around me. He didn’t try to bark Bible verses, he just draped an arm over my shoulder and we listened to the song.

Did it all happen?

Next, the neighborhood piano plays “Old Rugged Cross.” I am a baby again. I am on my mother’s knee. She is hanging laundry on the line. White sheets are flapping in the breeze. My mother has long hair like Crystal Gayle, only prettier.

Mama is singing, “On a hill far away, stood and old rugged cross…”

My granny is near us. She starts humming the tune along with my mother. The white-haired woman who was taken from this world too young because of Winston cigarettes. They are both singing to me. And I am in their arms.

The music from the house stops. An old woman comes out the front door. She lights a cigarette and sees us all standing nearby. There are maybe four of us. The guy standing to my right starts clapping. I join him.

The lady doesn’t say anything, she just waves. The applauding man is white-haired. He stands about ten feet away from me. He says to me, “That really took me back.”

“Me too,” I say.

“Have a happy Easter,” he says.

“You, too,” I say.

When we part ways, we are humming. Because no matter how old I get, no place is so dear to childhood as the Little Brown Church in the Vale.

65 comments

  1. Sandi. - April 8, 2020 6:41 am

    Hi Sean, and Happy Easter to you and Jamie. Look for something wonderful on Sunday morning, and you will find it. By the way, I certainly do like your sketch of the little country church which accompanies this delightful post.

    Reply
  2. Cathi Russell - April 8, 2020 6:55 am

    I am Methodist & we sang “Up From The Grave He Arose” too. First, because we Southern Methodists tend to borrow stuff from other denominations and second, we had an elderly church member who could hit those low notes & raise hair on the back of your neck. Easter 2020 may not look the same but it will feel as wonderful as always.

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  3. Marileen Knisley - April 8, 2020 7:00 am

    Sean, your Church of Christ reference, lol, growing up as one, is hilarious. When it came time to get married, we were going to roll the piano over from the funeral home across the parking lot to the church ( Hurt’s grocery store was in between the 2, so it would have been quite a ways to roll it, and considering the condition of it and the out of tune sound that might come out of it after going over a parking lot. We decided against it. (By the way, we got married at the Methodist Church)

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  4. Grant Burris - April 8, 2020 7:00 am

    you got a way of taking us back, Sean. Sure is nice. Happy Easter to you.

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  5. Sandy - April 8, 2020 7:38 am

    Thanks!

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  6. Gwen@ Monroe - April 8, 2020 11:07 am

    I’ve been going to church all my life and I miss it so much during this covid 19 time. Especially Easter. The choir sings with gusto! The Pastor preaches harder! The spring colors everyone is wearing. Easter ham and deviled eggs and all the family hunting Easter eggs. But you know, yesterday I heard one of my neighbors playing a saxophone outside! It was beautiful! I didn’t even know she could do that! I’m learning a lot during this “covid “ time. And I’m thankful you are here during this time to make us smile❤️

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  7. Curtis Lee Zeitelhack - April 8, 2020 11:13 am

    Someone just set fire to my MP3.

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  8. Elizabeth - April 8, 2020 11:43 am

    What a gift it is to have grown up in a small church with such wonderful memories. And what a gift you!

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  9. Tammy S. - April 8, 2020 11:55 am

    Love this. Thanks for writing this piece and taking us back this Easter week to simpler times. Every childhood should include a sweet country church, sheets, and for me as the oldest of 5 stair step girls, white cloth diapers on the clothes line, us girls running around outside while Momma, Mamaw and Aunt Louise sang old hymns like, “The Old Rugged Cross.” And when the cousins were all there, as my Mamaw would say it was “a fine mess of youngins.” She loved us all and Easter was special because we were all home, at her house after Easter Sunday service at our little Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. She loved most that we were all together. And secondly, she loved cooking for us all. Her peanut butter cake was always good. But extra special on Easter. You took me right back there this morning, Sean. And that is the best gift!! Thank you!!

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  10. Sharon Brock - April 8, 2020 12:05 pm

    I remember The Old Rugged Cross being sung at least once at my childhood Methodist Church. Dressed in our pretty new dresses my Mother made, with Easter hats, little white gloves, and shiny black shoes. I attend church rarely now but usually on Easter Sunday with my babiest sister.
    On Palm Sunday this year, we created our own service over the phone. We, including my brother-in-law, read from our Bibles sitting on our respective balconies. Wherever two or more of us are gathered in HIS name, HE is there. I think Jesus enjoyed our little worship. Just as HE enjoyed the music from your neighbor.

    Happy Easter Sean.

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  11. Joyce Bacon. - April 8, 2020 12:07 pm

    Good morning Sean. Thank you for taking me back to my “little white church by the creek”. I remember and miss the old hymns. Some of the “new” songs are good, but too many just sound like old time rock and roll to me. I miss the sound of the upright piano, the worn hymnal in my hands…even the off key rendition by Brother Bob, one of the deacons. If I could go back in time I would be attending Easter Sunrise Service at that little church with breakfast being served in the basement fellowship hall after service. Maybe my Grandpa will be the preacher that day. I can close my eyes and see him issuing the altar call with tears in his eyes. Thank you Sean for giving an old woman cherished memories this morning.

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  12. Jean - April 8, 2020 12:17 pm

    Morning Sean….my Baptist raising included all of the songs you mention. We sang…very slowly and somber….Low in the grave He lay…..Jesus my Savior and then the chorus we sped up and sang Up from the grave He arose! I play the piano and that is a wonderful uplifting song. Church in the Wild wood is a good one too…takes me back…
    Sean….here is wishing for you a blessed and Happy Easter.

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  13. Laurie Ulrich - April 8, 2020 12:28 pm

    I will be singing all these hymns all day today–and probably will it down to the piano, open the windows, and imagine that someone outside is listening, too. Thank you for this~

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  14. Nancy - April 8, 2020 12:31 pm

    When I saw the title of this piece, I knew exactly what it was about. I loved The Church in the Wildwood, even if our church sat in the middle of downtown. We would sing it on Sunday nights. As a Methodist, it wouldn’t be Easter without “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” But it’s actually written by John Wesly’s brother, Charles.

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  15. Laurie Ulrich - April 8, 2020 12:31 pm

    I will be singing all these hymns all day today–and probably will sit down to the piano, open the windows, and imagine that someone outside is listening, too. Thank you for this~

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  16. Jo Ann - April 8, 2020 12:32 pm

    I loved when you mentioned those old hymns, I sang each in my head. The contemporary church songs just aren’t the same as the old, familiar ones. I have couple old hymnals & I occasionally look through them & sing the songs to myself. They are like old friends. Thank you, Sean, for the memories.

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  17. amw15 - April 8, 2020 12:32 pm

    Sean, I actually woke up this morning with the Old Rugged Cross singing in my mind – Up from the grave he arose, he arose. I always loved that part because my 3 older brothers would sing the bass. I was raised Baptist and those three hymns that you mentioned were all of my Daddy’s favorites, We even played “The Little Brown Church” at his funeral. Thank you for taking me back, I think I’ll get out the hymnal and play some of them this week. Happy Easter – you and Jamie are the best!

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  18. amw15 - April 8, 2020 12:41 pm

    Good Morning Sean, you’re not going to believe this but I woke up with “Up from the grave he arose, he arose” singing in my mind today :), my 3 brothers loved trying to sing the bass part. I was raised Baptist and those three hymns that you mentioned were my Daddy’s favorites, we even played the Little Brown Church at his funeral. He loved to sing and whistle and I surely do miss hearing his beautiful baritone and feeling the music from him. I think that you’ve inspired me to get out the old hymnal and try playing some this week and make some music come out of our open windows into the neighborhood. Happy Easter to you and Jamie, y’all are the best!

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  19. Jan - April 8, 2020 12:47 pm

    Thank you for that walk down memory lane. On our walk, we visited all the churches of my childhood. I will be singing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” since I am a born and bred Methodist. I do believe it was written by Charles Wesley, John’s brother, who was the song writer of the duo. Happy Easter and enjoy that fresh baked bread!

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  20. M. J. Clinton - April 8, 2020 12:51 pm

    Fresh-baked bread and childhood church memories. Your stories reach down and touch deep. Happy Easter to you, to your family, and may His healing grace touch the world.

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  21. Ray Wallace - April 8, 2020 1:09 pm

    I was not born in the South, but my childhood church experience was much like this, although it was in a church that the Baptist may have burned ! I’m in Mississippi now and I can relate completely .

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  22. Jimmi Pate - April 8, 2020 1:16 pm

    Oh, this really took me back to my childhood…I can identify with each of these songs. Precious moments and memories of my childhood.

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  23. Joe Patterson - April 8, 2020 1:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing our whole lives were centered around the church and we all believed and did our best to live by the golden rule regardless of what denomination we were Simpler times with much less hate just because you didn’t believe exactly like your friends We all believed in the same God Happy Easter thanks for the memories

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  24. Brenda Posey - April 8, 2020 1:23 pm

    Thank you, Sean. An early morning trip down memory lane with those hymns and I hummed along! Blessed Easter to all.

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  25. Steve - April 8, 2020 1:36 pm

    That was so good.

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  26. jk pendleton - April 8, 2020 1:41 pm

    takes me back too. thank you for this recalling of some of my precious memories. (there’s another goodun) aren’t we blessed to have grown up
    in the rich-layered South?

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  27. Marilyn - April 8, 2020 1:57 pm

    Well, that certainly brought back memories! I could her my father singing the “rum-pum-pum” part to “Church in the Wildwood”! Love all those old hymns and knew the words to every one. Even led the congregation to sing them in my younger days! May God bless each and every one as we travel through this.

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  28. Sue, a Florida Farm Girl - April 8, 2020 2:12 pm

    I knew exactly what song you were talking about just from the title. Now I’ve got Little Brown Church as an earworm. Could be worse, though. You and Jamie stay safe down there.

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  29. Joretta Parker - April 8, 2020 2:14 pm

    This brought back so many dear memories to me. Thank you Sean!

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  30. Mary - April 8, 2020 2:16 pm

    Sean, during this crazy time I almost wish I lived in a neighborhood instead of the woods. But we do have neighbors –we’re just divided by 10 acres or more. A lot of these neighbors are going to gather on this Easter Sunday morning in a field …properly social-distanced…just to share some of these wonderful songs and celebrate what Jesus did for all of us on that old rugged cross. Who knows? This may start a tradition! I hope you will pull out your guitar and sing some of these with Jamie this Sunday. I’m betting you will be blessed beyond beyond! Happy Easter! He IS Risen!

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  31. Sherry Harris - April 8, 2020 2:23 pm

    Sean, my husband Mike and I with some friends came to see you in Columbiana Alabama. It was an awesome evening. We read your column everyday and when we see our friends, someone always says “Have you read Sean today?” My husband calls me a pathological reader and that’s true. I know great writing and the best writers weave a story so powerful that the story becomes your story and the people in it your friends. You are that kind of writer. However as a Methodist pastor, John Wesley may have invented the chicken broccoli casserole and Dixie cup baptism, but he did not write “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.” His brother, Charles Wesley, did. But I will give you a pass since you play the piano like a madman and tell the stories oh my heart. We won’t be in church on Easter but as we watch on line, I will think of you as we sing our Methodist song. By the way, I have done so many immersion baptisms that I have my own pair of waders. Stay safe, stay well, and keeping on writing. Happy Easter.
    Mike and Sherry Harris – Birmingham, Alabama

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  32. MermaidGrammy - April 8, 2020 2:33 pm

    Beautifully tender.

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  33. Andy Andrews - April 8, 2020 2:42 pm

    Sean…

    My family and I live in Orange Beach. I’m a great admirer of your work and have followed you for some time now. My “go to” book recommendation at the moment is “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” What a great job you did with that! For the past couple of years, I have had conversations about you with other people–including an executive at Harper Collins who was hilariously unhappy that Zondervan signed you. (“He should be with us,” he said about five times.)

    I’ve avoided bothering you, but at some point, I do hope I have the honor of meeting you and your wife. After reading this morning’s post, I had to say hello. This one–probably because I relate to it so completely–is a new favorite. About a week ago, I smiled at a reference you made to Gloria Gaither. I will send this one to her today and she will love it. I’m talking to her (and her husband) this afternoon and am looking forward to her comments. If you’d like, I’ll let you know what she says!

    One final note… My dad was a Baptist “minister of music”. No one seems to use that job description any more and to a whole generation, I suppose, we would need to explain what that was. Except for Roger Breland–and Bill sometimes–there doesn’t seem to be a lot of “directing” a song for the congregation anymore. My dad, if he were alive today, would be a dinosaur–archeology’s version of a worship leader.

    Anyway, “Up From The Grave He Arose” was a favorite of mine all through childhood for I found it allowed me complete control over any kid within earshot. I’m not certain how many friends I got in trouble on Easter Sundays through the years. For some reason, laughing in church was not funny to adults back then. And It wasn’t that funny to my wife a few years ago when I pulled out my old Easter material for our two boys. They were 10 and 7 at the time which is the perfect age for a line like this and it worked just like it did when I was their age. “Up From The Grave He Arose!” the congregation roared that morning and then, just loud enough that only our boys could hear, I sang the next phrase: With a mighty booger in His nose!

    My wife still says I am childish. I prefer the term “childlike,” but either way, it doesn’t matter. Kids will hit the floor when that gem is delivered and I still believe it to be worth the effort.

    Andy

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  34. Rhea Wynn - April 8, 2020 2:49 pm

    I can see the Baptist church where my grandmother went, and we got to go with her when we visited her – even though we were church of Christ. 🙂 My grandparents are buried in the cemetery there. I still love to visit this site. It is up a gravel road and sits in a grove of trees. It truly is the little white church in the vale. Thank you – I remember all of these songs – we still sing them sometimes; although, much to infrequently to my way of thinking (no piano of course). LOL

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  35. Brad Campbell - April 8, 2020 2:53 pm

    This was beautiful Sean. Thank you so very much

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  36. Allen Berry - April 8, 2020 2:56 pm

    I can’t speak for everybody in the Church of Christ, but I’m partial to “Up From the Grave He Arose.” The hymns always take me back too. A bunch of us from church went to a local Nursing Home and sang for the residents, some of them, that was the only thing that got through.

    That whole thing with the piano fire was never conclusively proven. Fog of worship and all…

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  37. Christina Lin - April 8, 2020 3:06 pm

    What a tender moment of the pastor putting his arms around you and of you just missing your late father💕

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  38. Bobbie E - April 8, 2020 3:24 pm

    So many thoughts after reading this. Your writings always bring something special to mind… sometimes sad, sometimes glad. Today’s was a mixture, tears and smiles at the same time. You have become a bright spot in my day as in many others I’m sure. You, Sean, are an old soul. You remind me of my oldest grandson…he’s 42. Talked with him yesterday, he and children are watching the Andy Griffith show now. Had never seen it he said, hard to believe. One comment by his oldest daughter was she was appalled that Opie was going to be spanked! You don’t do that, she said. My how times have changed. Thought you’d appreciate that. I need to start watching it again. Nothing like the good ole days. And the longer I live, the more I realize they really were.
    God bless you and Jamie today. Love you all❤️🇺🇸🇺🇸

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  39. Nancy Wright - April 8, 2020 3:27 pm

    You had me singing today, Sean!

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  40. Linda Moon - April 8, 2020 4:31 pm

    One of my many Aunts worked at a bakery. My cousins from East Alabama and I would often roam the streets in front of it just for the smells of the freshly-baked bread wafting through the air. We weren’t weirdos…just little kids who loved our Aunt and sniffing the bread. Did it all happen? Yes, and I bet you and I and lots of other people would like to be taken back to childhood churches and bakeries, even if only for a little while. Thank you for making me remember, hum, and almost smell that bread!

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  41. Dawn A Bratcher - April 8, 2020 5:14 pm

    This brought me to tears as I, too, was raised Southern Baptist and walked the aisle at a young age. I don’t remember my exact age, but I remember everything about it and being baptized by my pastor. I knew all of the hymns by heart, every verse, but my memory fails me now. You have reminded me of such beautiful memories of the beginning of my life everlasting! Thank you, Sean. Happy Resurrection week to you and Jamie. ❤️

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  42. Angela Lane - April 8, 2020 5:21 pm

    Thank you for this! I have been missing the live church music and singing. For the record, Presbyterians do clap at football games!

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  43. Robert Arban - April 8, 2020 5:27 pm

    Thanks sean, it brought back memories for me also. Your the best, friend

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  44. BethB - April 8, 2020 6:52 pm

    Sean, I absolutely love this, although I say that about all of your stories! This particular story flooded my mind with memories of life in a simpler era, where the world was a happier and safer place. A time where people were kinder, friendlier and loved their neighbors. Reading your story and recalling days gone by was a beautiful reprieve from the uncertainty we are all facing right now. Easter brings hope! Wishing you and all your readers hope in the days ahead, and in Christ who is the foundation of our Hope!

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  45. Patricia Gibson - April 8, 2020 7:30 pm

    Good one! Lots of memories ❤️

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  46. Beth E. - April 8, 2020 7:55 pm

    This, like all of your essays, is just lovely. I come from a very long line of Southern Baptists, so all of your writing about Southern Baptists resonates with me. I’m Presbyterian now, so I’m busy not clapping and being among the “frozen chosen.” 😉 Anyway, thanks for all you do.

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  47. catladymac - April 8, 2020 8:02 pm

    “Lift up your gates, Jerusalem !
    Lift up your gates and sing !
    Hosanna in the highest
    Hosanna to your King !”

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  48. Judy Myler - April 8, 2020 8:22 pm

    You make my heart happy.

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  49. Annak - April 8, 2020 8:45 pm

    Oh, Sean, This is priceless. You never fail to amaze me with how spot-on you are with your observations and descriptions. I attended one of those “little brown vale” churches – well, it was actually white – when I was growing up. And it stays with you forever, no matter where you are. And I am also a lifelong Methodist with Church of Christ relatives, so the piano burning procession is absolutely one of the funniest things I have ever read. Thank you again and again for sharing yourself with us.

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  50. Berryman Mary M - April 8, 2020 8:48 pm

    This one brought back so many memories, Sean! I love all of those old hymns. And for your information, Presbyterians process in on Easter morning to “Christ the Lord is Risen Today! My daddy who died way too many years ago was a tenor solo and had the voice of an angel. When the Easter procession begins with that hymn my tears flow. And in my mind I see my daddy with his baby blue eyes in his beautiful choir robe lifting his voice in glory to God. I know that he sings with the angels. Thanks for the wonderful thoughts today.

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  51. Becky Souders - April 8, 2020 9:55 pm

    You sparked lots of musical memories today, Sean Dietrich. Thanks…. and Happy Easter!

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  52. Tameron Harvell - April 8, 2020 10:38 pm

    Hey, I know you!

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  53. Rosamond Rankin - April 8, 2020 10:57 pm

    Thank you for bringing back sweet memories happy Easter

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  54. Laura Z - April 9, 2020 12:06 am

    I’m Catholic now, but was raised Baptist. We definitely sang “Old Rugged Cross” every year. When I was little, I thought the first verse of “Up from the Grave he Arose” went “Low in the gravy lay, Jesus my Savior!!”

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  55. Joy T Lane - April 9, 2020 12:43 am

    This is one of my favorite columns that you have written . It was extra sweet during this weird state of affairs we are currently experiencing. Keep on writing, it’s a ray of sunshine for a cloudy time.

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  56. Christine Washburn - April 9, 2020 1:23 am

    I so enjoyed your column today and all the funny comments. Thank you all for the laughs.
    He is risen, hallelujah.

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  57. DONNA HUSKEY - April 9, 2020 1:46 am

    “Up From the Grave He Arose” was one of my Daddy’s favorites songs and is one of mine too. It always gives me goosebumps when that stanza cuts in with Up from the Grave begins. It doesn’t seem like Easter without singing it. Easter won’t be quite the same this year watching our pastor online but it is what in our hearts that matters. Happy Easter to you and Jamie!

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  58. Jody - April 9, 2020 2:42 am

    Priceless

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  59. John Pritchett - April 9, 2020 3:08 am

    Excellent, just plain excellent#

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  60. Hazel Barber - April 9, 2020 7:47 am

    This had me in tears because each song brought back so many precious memories of my childhood. Our church was the clapping variety and the music was always wonderful. Thank you for reminding me of the rich Christian heritage I have. Blessings to you, Sean, and your mother. Sing some of those oldies with her this Holy Week.
    Hazel
    Huntsville AL

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  61. Chasity Davis Ritter - April 9, 2020 2:44 pm

    At work they are giving us mini health screenings to make sure we are ok to do our shifts because we are essential. Here I am with leaky eyes I can’t even blame on allergies. Nope it’s Sean Dietrich sorry. Not sorry!! I will be missing sitting in a church this Sunday because of CV19 closing the doors but today after reading this I felt like I’ve been. I was singing along each song in my heart. I know those words. I know those tunes and those stories. You got me again Sean!! We are going to have a service Sunday and I hope for the occasion they trot out some of these old favorites. It’s online and also in the parking lot. We are doing a drive in service where we sit in the cars and stay isolated. But even there or ten feet apart on a street listening to a cigarette smoking angel play we are still in this together.

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  62. Lainey - April 11, 2020 11:27 pm

    So as I was reading this I thought of a very talented couple in our neighborhood who might be willing to play and sing from their front porch. They embraced the idea. Today from 4-5 they sang songs and hymns and spiritual songs from their porch. There were several families there keeping 6 ft away from others. And of course there were some seniors there too. I wish I could send you a picture. This happened because you wrote about the Little Brown Church in the Dale(Vale)!

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  63. Marydavis - May 21, 2020 2:43 am

    Gah. Still sniffling. For those of us who grew up singing—really singing, in harmony, with gusto—there is nothing to which one can compare it in the modern world. Those little weathered churches where folks had little in worldly goods but were rich in faith and voice we portals to heaven itself, God leaning over to listen to those glorious harmonies. Yes and amen. Thank you.

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  64. Mary Hicks - May 22, 2020 11:05 pm

    My husband’s favorite song, The Little Brown Church in the Vale! Our daughter was our Baptist Church’s piano player. We always pepped up our songs. We didn’t drag nothing!! Thanks for the memories, Sean. God bless you and Jamie. Love to smell homemade bread 🍞, too!!

    Reply

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