The Mourning Bench
It's the last Sunday in August, in an old historical neighborhood, in Memphis, Tennessee. In the middle
of this neighborhood sat the only church. The church was a very tiny old house, made in a shotgun style.
The church was named after the historical neighborhood, Annesdale Cherokee Baptist Church.
Annesdale Cherokee Baptist Church consisted of families that resided in the area. My family had been
attending this church for over one year. My mother especially enjoyed the church services. This
meant that every Sunday morning, she made sure that we all got up and dressed our best for church. I
often wondered, "Why must we go every single Sunday?
At Annesdale Cherokee Baptist Church, they practiced and taught many of the traditional Baptist
doctrines. One of their teachings was that of the Old Time Revival. Revival always started on the last
Sunday night in August and it would last one entire week. My mother told us, on many occasions that
when revival started, we had better be on the mourning bench. Just the very thought of going to sit on
this "Mourning Bench for a whole week terrified me to death. No one had ever taken the time to
explain to me the whole concept of this mourning bench thing.
On this particular night, when we arrived on the church grounds, I could hear the music pounding from
the organ. My cousin Chris, and I waltz right down the center isle, straight to the front of the church and
took our seat on the mourning bench. As I began to take my seat, I could feel my heart racing. I felt as
if I were a lion cub, about to be eaten by starving wolves. I watched nervously as the preacher approach
the front of the podium. As he began to speak, he shouted out.
"Who, in this house tonight wants to be SAVED? he shouted.