Many years ago, Dad got invited to speak at a Sunday morning church service, which was to be followed by a potluck lunch, and then a mortgage burning.
I was familiar with the first two items, but had never heard of the third. Mortgage burning? It sounded like some sort of Old Testament ceremony overseen by men in priestly garments.
It was to be, evidently, a very big day for the church.
Dad explained it to me this way …
This particular congregation had taken out a loan—probably tens of thousands of dollars—in order to buy their land and put up a building. They’d made regular payments to the bank, and the loan had finally been paid off. Now they didn’t owe a single nickel, which meant that more of their money could be devoted to the “Lord’s work” (such as missions and other evangelistic efforts).
It took me a little while, but I think I got it. Getting out from under a bunch of debt ... that was a good thing.
So when the mortgage-burning day finally arrived, Dad did what he often did: he preached a fiery and amazing sermon and then joined the rest of us in the fellowship hall for fried chicken and other assorted meats and side dishes.
We all ate pretty quickly—as I recall—and then we trekked out to the church’s backyard and gathered around an old barbeque grill.
Everything appeared to be set.
Then one man—I’m guessing an elder—spoke up and said a few words. There were nods and smiles all around the circle. I’m pretty sure there was even a prayer stuck in in there somewhere.
And then another fellow came forward and dumped a batch of official looking papers into the grill. He followed this by striking a match, and—well—you can guess the rest.
As one, we all started cheering and clapping (which I’m guessing was okay, because we were standing outside and it wasn’t an actual church service). We just couldn’t hold in our joy.
Our debt has been paid! We’ve been set free!
Our debt has been paid.
We’ve been set free.
Yes ... that certainly is worth celebrating.
|Flickr photo by MTSO fan.|