Tag Archives: Pulpit
Minister who preached at great length was criticised by one of his members following a particularly long service.
He apologised and added, “but there wasn’t a clock on the wall in front of me”
“aye”, came the reply, “but there’s a calendar behind you in the pulpit!”
A rich man went to his vicar and said, “I want you and your wife to take a three-month trip to the Holy Land at my expense. When you come back, I’ll have a surprise for you”. The vicar accepted the offer, and he and his wife went off to the Middle East.
Three months later they returned home and were met by the wealthy parishioner, who told them that while they were gone, he had had a new church built. “It’s the finest building money can buy, vicar,” said the man. “No expense was spared.” And he was right. It was a magnificent edifice both outside and in.
But there was one striking difference. There was only one pew, and it was at the very back. “A church with only one pew?” asked the vicar.
“You just wait until Sunday,” the rich man said.
When the time came for the Sunday service, the early arrivals entered the church, filed onto the one pew and sat down. When the pew was full, a switch clicked silently, a circuit closed, the gears meshed, a belt moved and, automatically, the rear pew began to move forward. When it reached the front of the church, it came to a stop. At the same time, another empty pew came up from below at the back and more people sat down. And so it continued, pews filling and moving forwards until finally the church was full, from front to back.
“Wonderful!” said the vicar, “Marvelous!”
The service began, and the vicar started to preach his sermon. He launched into his text and, when 12 o’clock came, he was still going strong, with no end in sight. Suddenly a bell rang, and a trap door in the floor behind the pulpit dropped open.
“Wonderful!” said the congregation, “Marvelous!”
on the pulpit at Warrison Crematorium, Edinburgh – thanks to the Rev Dr Derek Browing for spotting this
(This passage was read by the Rev Owain Jones on Sea Sunday (29 July 2012)
Like most old fashioned pulpits, it was a very lofty one, and since a regular stairs to such a height would, by its long angle with the floor, seriously contract the already small area of the chapel, the architect…had… finished the pulpit without a stairs, substituting a perpendicular side ladder, like those used in mounting a ship from a boat at sea. The wife of a whaling captain had provided the chapel with a handsome pair of red worsted man-ropes for this ladder, which, being itself nicely headed, and stained with a mahogany colour, the whole contrivance, considering what manner of chapel it was, seemed by no means in bad taste. Halting for an instant at the foot of the ladder, and with both hands grasping the ornamental knobs of the man-ropes, Father Mapple cast a look upwards, and then with a truly sailor-like but still reverential dexterity, hand over hand, mounted the steps as if ascending the main-top of his vessel.
The perpendicular parts of this side ladder, as is usually the case with swinging ones, were of cloth-covered rope, only the rounds were of wood, so that at every step there was a joint. At my first glimpse of the pulpit, it had not escaped me that however convenient for a ship, these joints in the present instance seemed unnecessary. For I was not prepared to see Father Mapple after gaining the height, slowly turn round, and stooping over the pulpit, deliberately drag up the ladder step by step, till the whole was deposited within, leaving him impregnable in his little Quebec.
I pondered some time without fully comprehending the reason for this…
No, thought I, there must be some sober reason for this thing; furthermore, it must symbolize something unseen. Can it be, then, that by that act of physical isolation, he signifies his spiritual withdrawal for the time, from all outward worldly ties and connexions? Yes, for replenished with the meat and wine of the word, to the faithful man of God, this pulpit, I see, is a self-containing stronghold
Its panelled front was in the likeness of a ship’s bluff bows, and the Holy Bible rested on a projecting piece of scroll work, fashioned after a ship’s fiddle-headed beak.
What could be more full of meaning?—for the pulpit is ever this earth’s foremost part; all the rest comes in its rear; the pulpit leads the world. From thence it is the storm of God’s quick wrath is first descried, and the bow must bear the earliest brunt. From thence it is the God of breezes fair or foul is first invoked for favourable winds.
Yes, the world’s a ship on its passage out, and not a voyage complete; and the pulpit is its prow.