While on vacation last week we visited First Baptist Church, North Myrtle Beach. Visiting churches in other towns, other states, other countries not only is an opportunity to worship the Lord, but also is a great way to identify with the people in that locale. It is always interesting, whether we’re startled by the crowing of a rooster in Kauai at the very point of Peter’s denial, or hearing a sermon in two languages in Aruba, or being part of Youth Sunday in Bromley, England.
We (Charles, Revonda, and I) had found this church while heading north to eat seafood in Calabash, North Carolina. It looked like a lively church so we checked their schedule and made plans to be there on Sunday morning.
The church was warm and welcoming. We perceived there were many other guests that morning and wondered if it were usually like that. In fact, we found ourselves welcoming other guests to church!
The congregation grew and grew, several being seated by an usher who was a big jolly guy with a ready smile and handshake. I talked to a couple from Charlottesville, Virginia who, also, were there for the first time. Charles nudged me to notice a white headed lady who appeared to be preparing to play an organ. There was an air of excitement as members greeted each other and then a hush as the worship leader welcomed us and invited us to sing.
We were happily singing praises when I looked over at the “organist” and realized she wasn’t playing an organ at all. She was playing timpani drums! She was a dainty little lady and her hands moved with such grace from one drum to another with what seemed musical accuracy, each beat right on time. Once having discovered her, I could hardly keep my eyes off her. Her hair was white as a fluffy cloud, her figure slim and erect and her drum beats so effective, like exclamation points in a script.
The sermon was very good, the music wonderful, and the members caring. There was even a lady at the door as we left passing out loaves of bread to first time attenders. But I was sorry I didn’t have a chance to speak to the little drummer lady. When we asked the worship leader about her, he smiled really big. “Oh, yes, would you believe she’s in her mid-eighties?”
I thought he would go on to say the lady had been playing drums all her life and just wouldn’t give up. But what he said was that she’d only been playing for three years. He said she decided to learn to play drums at about 83 and had perfected her skills so she could accompany the other instruments, a brass ensemble, in church.
We came away blessed by this outreaching church, an inspiring sermon, other friendly visitors, two loaves of bread, and the humble, graceful “little drummer lady.”