My Two Cents
November 7, 2021, 12:00 AM

“Bringing in the Sheaves”

I was talking to Glenn Helme on the phone today. We were chatting about the church where he and his brothers grew up, all as preachers’ kids- The Main Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Rushville, IN.

Turns out Glenn’s dad was the pastor at Main Street Church from 1944 to 1966. These were the glory days for mainline congregations, especially those that occupied county seat towns throughout the Midwest. And even though you had to pull up the floorboard to get into the baptistry at Main Street Church, you can bet there were a ton of kids who began their journey of faith in that sanctuary, including Glenn and his two brothers, Frank, and John.

Here’s a photo of the grand old building that housed that church, established in 1840. And still offering active ministry to their community.

Glenn and I were talking because I had just made a discovery. The old Gospel hymn composer, Knowles Shaw, grew up in Rush County, Indiana, and was a singing evangelist for the Churches of Christ, now Disciples of Christ. Shaw led revivals from Michigan to Texas “where many would come and hear him sing and remain to listen to his enthusiastic and convincing sermons”. I remember Glenn talking about being from Rush County. But, he had never heard Shaw mentioned during his time at Main Street. So, while a Disciple, Knowles was probably affiliated with a different congregation in Rush County.

What does all this have to do with anything?

Well, among the many fine hymns written by Knowles Shaw is the classic, “Bringing in the Sheaves” written in 1874. Who knew that a Disciple penned this hymn which has come to typify old time Gospel Christianity AND was about the only hymn my dad knew by heart? This hymn, which encourages, yea urges, yea pleads for us to share the Gospel message with our friends before it is too late, has its roots in our own little denomination.

So, why not? This Thanksgiving Sunday, November 21st, will are going to sing this great old (Disciples, Rush County, Revival, “Little House on the Prairie”) hymn AND invite everyone who has been a little hesitant to be among the sheaves who gather for in-person worship. Bring yourselves. Bring your kids. Bring a friend. Bring all the sheaves! Oh, and one catch? Bring in a can or two of food to be placed on the altar during the service in thanksgiving for our many blessings.

For, while we may question the resonance of a theology that urges us to convert before it’s too late, we can enthusiastically embrace a church with a rich history that loves to gather together and loves to sing!