A Plan for a Peaceful, Loving Invasion of Church Worship as planned by Rev. Sheets

By Marilyn Kettering Badger

February 20, 2017

In the 1960’s there was a group of Oberlin College students who would come to (frequently) rural churches on Sunday mornings with plans to create a disruption to the morning services to “test” the churches. What their purpose was is unclear, but some thought it to be a challenge to the practices of showing Christ’s love by the churches.

Rev. George Sheets learned of this and with the church leaders formulated a plan. From the pulpit he offered the challenge to love unconditionally and put forth this plan. If these students came – usually quite “hippie” in appearance – and if they started heckling or disrupting the service, he had requested that organist, Polly Rodgers, start playing a familiar hymn, (believed to be “Amazing Grace”), and we would all start singing. Then we would dismiss, and everyone was to “love those people to death with greetings and hugs of welcome.”  He said it did not matter if the sermon was completed or offering taken; we were to overwhelm them with love!  We never really had a chance to use our “love talent tokens,” but the lesson learned was not forgotten fast. Praise God!

This involved us being prepared ahead of time for what could have been upsetting to people if they had not been prepared. God gives us directions for our behavior to one another throughout the Bible.

Do we read up on those, refresh them regularly, and go through life prepared?

Do we remember to always be ready to love, to care, to forgive?

Do we realize that we are all unique and different and so will not always agree?

Do we keep in mind teachings in the Bible about anger, about idle words, about ways to dress and ways to act?

These are guidelines to us to prepare us for the unexpected times of life. My how this would cut back on “road rage” and violence if we kept these teachings in mind and reviewed them on a regular basis.

In years past there was a common saying, “What would Jesus do?” We need to keep that in mind in our lives when dealing with each other and then do it ourselves. Be more like Jesus.

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