Last week I began the true story, amazingly similar to the famous song by Ray Stevens, "Mississippi Squirrel Revival." Stevens sang about "the day the squirrel went berserk in the First Self-Righteous Church in the sleepy little town of Pascagoula." But what Pastor Butch Knight saw happened a few years ago in the First Baptist Church in the sleepy little town of Poplarville, Mississippi.
A few minutes before the morning worship service, the squirrel made his appearance in the choir and ran to the grand piano, where he perched and looked over the congregation. Then the squirrel ran up a flag pole. Next, he ran across the front of the church, and ran up the other flag pole. Since the men were trying to throw their coats over him, he high-tailed it toward the back of the church, running under pews. Although the pastor could not see the creature, he could tell where he was, because it looked like the congregation was doing the wave as people were jumping pews and shouting from the front pew to the back. Some people were laughing and saying aloud, "Are we in Pascagoula?" (Do I hear a "hallelujah?")
At one point, the squirrel ran back into the grand piano, and they closed the lid, trapping him inside. But how could they have church with him inside the piano? So they let him out and he fled again.
At last, a fellow wearing a winter coat managed to throw it over the squirrel. The darkness inside the coat calmed the squirrel, and he grew still. The man was able to take him outside and set him free. The pastor looked at his watch. It was 11:15, and they had spent 18 minutes chasing a varmint in church.
Did the church break out in revival, as in the Ray Stevens song? Brother Butch says they mostly broke out in laughter. But since some folks were going through difficult times, it was what they needed at the time.
Some time later, the church secretary’s 9-year-old son was playing at the church, and he chased a squirrel into the worship center, where it perched on top of the flag pole. It was a weekday, not a Sunday, and nobody was there except the boy and the squirrel. The boy picked up a rubber ball, and managed to hit the squirrel on the nose. The animal fell to the floor, motionless. The little boy felt terrible, but it was too late — the squirrel was stone dead.
Whether or not the squirrel that died that day was the same squirrel that went berserk in a Sunday service, nobody will ever know. But I do know this: you can run wild for a time, but eventually you die. The Bible says that we’re all destined to live, die, and face Judgment Day (Hebrews 9:27). As Amos 4:12 says, "Prepare to meet your God."
So if your life is going nuts, take a lesson from a squirrel. Trust in Jesus to save you from sin, and you’ll be ready for whatever life throws at you. And when that happens, your fight for survival will break out in revival, and you’ll shout "hallelujah."
(Copyright 2012 by Bob Rogers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read this column each Friday in the Herald. Visit my blog at www.bobrogers.me.)