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William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

The Mayflower, as early history students learn, brought the first pilgrims to America. It returned to England and was decommissioned in the 1620s. It is known that it made at least one more voyage to western Europe laden with merchandise, but soon after the ower died. How long it sat before being auctioned off as scrap is not known, but its present state has been featured in respectable magazines such as National Geographic and others as presently a barn in Jordans, England, outside London.
It was my privilege to visit that place where there is also a cemetery hosting the grave of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. While enjoying tea and crumpets, I could not help but notice the resemblance of a large barn-like structure to an inverted ship. Upon inquiry, I was told that it was the Mayflower. Asked how this could possibly be, I was told that the lack of wood in England made decommissioned ships valuable as building material. So the ship was bought at auction, disassembled, then reassembled upside down as a barn structure. A visit to the inside was fascinating.
In the United States, most anything that is a century old is considered old, but in England hardly anything is considered old unless it exceeds four to five hundred years of existence. I was privileged to stay in a hotel and dine in a banquet room that dates back to the 1200s. A.D. The antiquity of the room was apparent, and hosted an aroma of age, but the large timbers were quite structurally sound.
So, perhaps the Mayflower lives on as a useful structure, but not as originally intended. I was reminded, that unlike the Mayflower the ship of our life has deposited us as pilgrims in a Christ-rejecting world. However we will live on in Christ Jesus, not downgraded, but upgraded: mortality swallowed up of immortality. Praises be to the Lord Jesus Christ Who took our dross, and Who made His own righteousness available by faith to all who receive Him! 2 Cor. 5:21 states it this way, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

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Every time I am asked to pray, I think of the old fellow who always prayed, ‘Lord, prop us up on our leanin’ side. ‘After hearing him pray that prayer many times, someone asked him why he prayed that prayer so fervently.

He answered, ‘Well sir, you see, it’s like this… I got an old  barn out back.  It’s been there a long time; it’s withstood a lot of weather; it’s gone through a lot of storms, and it’s stood for many years. It’s still standing. But one day I noticed it was leaning to one side a bit. So I went and got some pine poles and propped it up on its leaning side so it wouldn’t fall.

Then I got to thinking about that and how much I was like that old barn. I’ve been around a long time.  I’ve withstood a lot of life’s storms. I’ve withstood a lot of bad weather in life, I’ve withstood a lot of hard times, and I’m still standing too. But I find myself leaning to one side from time to time, so I like to ask the Lord to prop us up on our leaning side, ’cause I figure a lot of us get to leaning at times.

Sometimes we get to leaning toward anger, leaning toward bitterness, leaning toward hatred, leaning toward cussing, leaning toward a lot of things that we shouldn’t . So we need to pray, ‘Lord, prop us up on our leanin’ side, so we will stand straight and tall again, to glorify the Lord.”

Juneau, AKJuneau, AK

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