This past weekend, Friday evening the 12th thru Sunday the 14th Valentine Day and on into Monday the 15th Presidents Day, passed in rather unexpected fashion for yours truly. I was actually hoping to spend part of it out of town, since it was Presidents weekend. But the opportunity never arose, and spent all of it here in Music City.
Saturday the 13th likewise did not go as planned or anticipated. On my new job with SecureWatch ADT it was my first Saturday, and my goal was to get contracts completed for three home security systems. Much to my shock on a cold, blustery day that should have encouraged folks to stay home, at least half of the doors I knocked on I didn't get any response. Not even a barking dog!
And of the homes where a person actually came to the door, one seemed interested but then revealed that he wasn't the "man of the house" (who wouldn't be home 'til after six) and another invited me in and let me give some of my presentation, only to stop me with that he was on fixed income and couldn't afford it. The result of all my efforts thru this cold day was zilch. Zip. Nada.
So much for my goal of three contracts and resulting commission.
However, making up for the vanity of work, I got blessed by a double double Saturday evening and another double Sunday evening! Let me explain, dear reader.
At one point on Thursday or Friday while my team's van was on Gallatin Avenue and passed by Eastland Baptist Church. The church sign announced that on Saturday the 13th Gold City would be in concert. With excitement I told the team where I wanted to be on Saturday evening. Then I explained that Gold City is one of the best gospel quartets in the ministry of Southern Gospel music.
Therefore, when we knocked off our work on Saturday -- nobody on the team got a contract, not even team leader Margaret -- I got dropped off at the church. Just going into the facility was a pleasure. It is an old, historic building, on a foursquare and two-level plan, with a marble column at each of the four inside corners. I chose to sit on the left not far from the platform.
The evening's program commenced with a male trio I'd not heard of before: Southern Salvation. One of their songs is presently on the charts for Southern Gospel music. Another one proclaims that the BEST thing about getting to Heaven will be meeting Jesus. To which I say a very hearty and heart-felt "Amen!"
Then it was Gold City's turn. These guys were my other SG concert performers since my return to Nashville -- see my posting of Thursday, July 2, 2009.
But wait! There had been personnel changes in the quartet, changes that provoked a mixture of amazement and delight in yours truly. First, Tim Riley, who had retired a few years ago after singing bass almost from the group's 1980 beginnings, is back with the quartet. It's my understand that back then Tim was also the manager or some sort of leader of the group. Whether he is again I don't know, but it certainly was a rich blessing to hear Tim singing bass again with Gold City!
The other addition was just as much a delight. Despite the decade since I'd last seen him, I recognized Josh Cobb as he sang tenor. Josh was the original tenor in the new quartet Legacy Five that began ten years ago. I was at their debut concert in Marietta, Georgia, having driven from Clarksville, Tennessee, for the historic event. Scott Fowler and Roger Bennett, formerly of the incomparable Cathedral Quartet, had started the new quartet to carry on the music ministry in the Cathedrals style after Glen Payne and George Younce retired the Cats. As I told Josh after the concert, I clearly remember the setting in which I first heard Legacy Five on the radio. A few months after the debut concert I was driving in Clarksville and had Solid Gospel 105 on the radio. As I turned a corner opposite my church of the time (St. Bethlehem Christian, on Dunbar Cave Rd.) I heard Josh's clear and distinctive tenor coming over the airwaves. Knowing this was my first L5 song to hear on the radio, I pulled onto the shoulder of Dunbar Cave Rd. and got blessed as Josh was featured in the powerful song "I Stand Redeemed"! And here he is, singing tenor again after several years hiatus! Praise God!
Gold City started out by singing a cappella an abbreviated version of their 1991 hit "One Scarred Hand". This majestic praise song was followed by the rousing "When I Get Carried Away". They sang more recent hits such as "What Children Believe" and "I'm Rich". This last song is one I can really get into, as I did one evening on a street corner waiting for a bus, when a street preacher had it sounding out of his loudspeaker behind me. The final verse (which Gold City repeats) contains the words "He's building me a mansion beyond compare; HALLELUJAH! I'm a millionaire!"
So, even tho' they didn't sing another recent hit that I really like, "Preach the Word" (if I could go back and re-do my ordination service, this would be in it) nor their signature hit "Midnight Cry", the concert there in Eastland Baptist served very much as a blessing. Particularly with the double return of Tim and Josh to Southern Gospel singing ministry!
But the weekend wasn't over. Not by any means! The next morning at Eastwood Christian Church (Disciples), Bob Frech offered me a ticket to the evening women's basketball game at Vanderbilt. But I put the invitation on hold while I phoned Vine Street Christian Church (Disciples) to inquire about the Second Sunday evening program. I was told that yes, it was "on" and would include the return of potter Helen. So I told Bob, "Thanks but no thanks".
You see, dear reader, I wasn't about to miss a second experience of Helen and her pot-throwing at the Second Sunday evening worship at Vine St. We commenced as always with a fellowship dinner in the downstairs fellowship hall. Then we went upstairs to the sanctuary, where Helen had spread a tarp and set up her potter's wheel. While she worked the clay she would comment about the process. Then K.K. Wiseman would give spiritual significance to it, and would make the passage from Jeremiah about the potter's workshop come alive for us! (Read Jer. 18:1-8.) And K.K. tied it all very nicely into the traditional church season of Lent, which begins Wednesday the Seventeenth with Ash Wednesday. And as with Helen's first appearance at Second Sunday, each of us got to leave with a small ceramic figurine as a memento and reminder of the experience and its lessons.