By Colin Swann
I was constructed several hundred years ago from an ancient oak that had lived for just as many years in the woodlands. Indeed I am still that old tree in spirit.
During my lifespan in the forest I saw many generations come and go and witnessed, from a distance, much about human life and behavior. Now that I have become a herald's rostrum I can note from close proximity what goes on in the human heart. So I record this knowledge in my book.
Selected extracts from the annals of the Omniscient Pulpit:
Rev J Parsons was at his fieriest this morning as he stomped thirty-two times on my bottom with his size eleven black brogues and thwacked my shoulder as many times with his hard backed Bible. He glared at his listeners with his dark, piercing eyes. Most looked guilty of breaking the Ten Commandments as he thundered out his sermon on "All Have Sinned."
People felt relieved when he began to wind up his message and wonderfully blest when he warmly shook their hands as if they were not guilty after all.
I know his every-day life is one of complete dedication to God. He cherishes his wife and children and is a Christian worthy of that name. His lifestyle fully qualifies him to preach the Word of God, and I am willing to put up with his pummeling of my structure when he turns up to preach.
John Lecher, a lay preacher, turned up to speak from me this evening. I cannot stand the man--he is a downright hypocrite. As he babbled on tonight, the sap left in me boiled and made me want to pop a knot in the direction of his nose. All that he said went against my grain.
His message was a topical theme on "Keeping Watch," and he prattled on about avoiding mixing with sinful people--those who should be evaded like the plague. He stated that contamination with this world had robbed many a soul of an eternal destiny with the Maker.
When he stumbled on my bottom step on leaving, I noticed a few shielded and muffled sniggers scattered around the congregation.
Elderly Miss Emily Scout is a dear sweet saint and a notable encourager of her audience. I love to enfold her within my wooden surround. She enchants me with her tap-dance-like movements and her angelical gesticulations--it takes me back to my forest days when birds fluttered through my branches and woodpeckers tapped out their messages of love to each other.
This morning she preached on the "Beauty of Jesus" and not a few handkerchiefs came out to craftily wipe away moisture from nose and eye. Sitting at this sister's feet while she ministers is to understand what sitting in heavenly places is all about.
I was sad when she left and cannot wait for her to return,
The Right Reverend John Bunn (he likes his full title) is a rotund figure of a man who is jovial in manner. He is nicknamed (secretly) Funny Bunny. He uplifts the people with his fun and clean jokes--including me!
Laughing is good for the soul, and we had an excess dosage of this medicine when he preached tonight.
He is good at dropping one-liners. Tonight when talking about the fruitless fishing of the disciples, he had said, "They didn't even catch a sausage, let alone a fish." This conjured up an imaginary picture of a banger wriggling on the end of a rod. Of course, the young people were in hysterics at this metaphor.
I am always glad when he leaves. That is because his rotund framework and his heavy weight plays havoc with my joints, and it is sweet relief to be able to relax after bearing such a burden.
I enjoy being a podium among the forest of people and listening and recording their escapades in my annals. My hope is that my wooden structure will last for many more hundreds of years before again being resurrected from the wood yard.
COLIN SWANN is a British writer who runs a marriage course with his wife Gill. They also host weekly home fellowship groups as part of their Church ministry. If you would like to write to Colin, you can do so through the Letters page of this magazine.