He Arose, He Arose. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, He will reign, forever, and ever and ever. Hallelujah.
When our son, Eddie, was about two and a half years old, he began to love to go to Sunday School which was in itself a big surprise to us. When he was a baby, he would start crying as soon as our car turned into the long drive-way to Trinity Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee. However, as soon as he arrived at his class room, he would immediately stop bawling and have a great time. Eddie was quite a talker even at this young age. He would come home from Sunday School telling us all about the people in the Bible that they had talked about that morning. He was so excited about Noah, he wanted us to build an Ark and start loading up the animals, two by two. He had already collected two fishing worms, our kitten, Bonnie Parker, and our cocker spaniel, Jennie Girl. We continued to tell him that we were working on the ark and any day now it would be ready.
He memorized a song about Zachaeus and he sang it loudly to his heart’s content. “Zachaeus, was a wee little man, a wee little man was he. He climbed up into the Cyclone (Sycamore) tree for the Lord he wanted to see. And the Lord said, (and he would shake his finger as hard as he could) “Zachaeus, you come down for I’m going to your house today.”
He wanted Jesus to come to our house too. One day, our pastor, Dr. William Barr, dropped by for a visit. Eddie was so excited that “Jesus came to our house.” I remember that day quite well as shortly after we sat down in the living room, our four-year old daughter asked him if he would like to have something to drink. We were both impressed at her good manners and hospitality. Dr. Barr replied, “Indeed, I would love something to drink. What do you have?” he asked.
My daughter replied, “We have whistly and beer and Momma made some Rum balls.” This brought a hardy laugh from Dr. Barr and sheer embarrassment from me. “How about ice tea? Do you have that?”
“Do we Momma?”
“Yes we do.” My face was as red as a beet as I spoke, but I must admit he sure did eat a lot of Rum balls, even took some home for his wife (my husband declared that he saw him eating them in the car as he backed out of our drive-way).
In the Fellowship Hall at the church, there was a huge portrait of Dr. Barr. Since he was able to talk, every time Eddie would pass by the portrait, he would say, “Hello Jesus.” I tried to explain to him that Dr Barr wasn’t Jesus, but he was absolutely sure that he was and there was no way to change that little boy’s mind. All of our friends at the church found it rather amusing, as did Dr. Barr. He said he’d been called a lot of things, but Jesus was certainly not on the top of the list or any list for that matter. It happened so often that I actually forgot about it.
During the Lenten season, Eddie came home with many stories that he learned in Sunday school. Being only two and a half, he managed to mix them up or to add his own version as he had quite an imagination. He told us that you should give up something that you don’t like for Lent, so he was going to give up Brussel Sprouts. That brought a huge chuckle from his Dad, since he required the children to taste whatever was on their plate, just one little bite.
“How would they know if they liked it or not, if they don’t taste it,” he would say. Eddie refused to taste the one lonely Brussel Sprout on his plate and it usually wound up hidden in the bottom of his glass of milk.
On Easter Sunday, I dressed the children in their new clothes just as my Momma had dressed me when I was little. They looked adorable in their best bib and tucker to go sing praises to their King (as Momma always told my sister and I as we headed off to Easter church services).
We took the children into their classrooms and Eddie was happy as a lark. However, when we went to retrieve him, he was in a very bad mood. “What’s wrong, Eddie?” No answer was forth coming which was a real novelty within itself, so I didn’t press him. He sulked until we got into the car. Finally, he could not hold it in any longer.
“I’m not going back to Sunday School any more, never ever,” he announced.
“And why is that? You love Sunday School.”
“Well,” he went on. “Jesus is dead, so I’m not going back anymore. They put nails in His hands and hung Him on a cross. He bleeded a whole lot. That was very mean, so I’m not going back ever again, never ever.”
My husband and I tried to explain to him and tell him about the resurrection, but he would not listen. “You’re just making that up, so I’ll go back,” he informed us.
We decided to let the subject drop since there is not much reasoning with an almost three year old.
The next Sunday, it took a lot of conjolling to get him there, but he went (after we told him we were going with or without him). After Sunday School and church that morning, we stopped off at the Fellowship Hall for coffee and to talk to some of our friends. Eddie came running up to me and started tugging me by my skirt-tail.
“Momma, come quick, Jesus is not dead.” He took me by the hand and we practically ran across the room and there stood Dr. William Barr, our Pastor. “See, see Jesus, he’s not dead. He rose up just like you said he did.” Eddie ran up to Dr Barr and wrapped his arms around his legs with so much enthusiasm it almost knocked him over, he was so glad to see him. It was only then that we realized that he had always said hello to Dr. Barr’s portrait by saying, “Hello Jesus” and thought that he really was Jesus.
Dr. Barr reached down and picked him up, hugged him and said to him, “Eddie, indeed you are right, Jesus is not dead and neither am I.”
At that moment, I would have sung the Hallelujah Chorus right there on the spot if I hadn’t inherited my Momma’s tuneless voice. But in my head, my voice chanted loudly, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! And He shall reign for ever and ever. For ever and ever, forever and ever. Amen. Amen.”