Scripture can only be savingly understood by the illumination of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel is a picture of God’s free grace to sinners. Now, were we in a room hung with the finest paintings, and adorned with the most exquisite statues, we could not see one of them if all light were excluded. The Spirit’s light is the same to the mind that outward light is to the bodily eyes. The most correct and lively description of the sun cannot convey either the light, the warmth, the cheerfulness, or the fruitfulness, which the actual shining of that luminary conveys; neither can the most labored and accurate dissertation on grace and spiritual things impart a true idea of them without an experience of the work of the Spirit upon the heart. The Holy Spirit must shine upon your graces, or you will not be able to see them; and your works must shine on your faith, or your neighbors will not be able to see it. — Augustus Toplady
Tragedy struck Langley Baptist Church on Sunday afternoon when every covered dish at the church’s monthly potluck was a green bean casserole. Stunned onlookers watched in horror as family after family arrived with the same popular side dish in tow. By the time grace was said over the meal, there were over twenty-five green bean casseroles lining the buffet table with no meat dish in sight.
Marilyn Perkins, supervisor of the Langley Baptist potluck, recalls the terror of witnessing the casseroles flooding in. “I’ve heard scary stories from other churches about excess hominy, but you never think it’s going to happen to your church,” she said in tears. “All I could think at the time was, Why us, Lord… why us?”
Repercussions from the church disaster were felt throughout the community as area grocers reported a shortage of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup and French’s French Fried Onions.
A few brave church members weathered the green bean avalanche by using large amounts of sweet tea to wash it down, while others, dazed and hungry, fled to their homes. A small faction of survivors, led by Jim Fairbanks, found shelter at a nearby McDonald’s restaurant. “Deacon Fairbanks was quick-thinking and saved my life,” said Anita West. “Just when I was about to go down, he threw me a Happy Meal. I was able to cling to that until help arrived.”
Deacon Fairbanks, however, shrugged off Mrs. West’s praise. “The real hero was Frank Woodburn, who tripped while helping other members cross the parking lot to the golden arches. I’ll never forget him lying there on the concrete, refusing my outstretched hand and screaming, ‘Save yourself!’ Now that’s a true hero. Frank will be missed.”
When Mr. M’Laren of Edinburgh was dying, Mr. Gustart, his associate pastor, paid him a visit, and inquired of him, “What are you now doing, my brother?” The strong and earnest response of the dying minister was, “I’ll tell you what I am doing, brother; I am gathering together all my prayers, all my sermons, all my good deeds, all my ill deeds; and I am going to throw them all overboard, and swim to glory on the single plank of free grace.”
— from “Death-bed Scenes: Or, Dying With and Without Religion, Designed to Illustrate the Truth and Power of Christianity”, Edited by Davis Wasgatt Clark, 1851.