When I was a student in Glasgow in my penultimate year I shared a flat with another student and a graduate teacher. On Sundays we would pile into the graduate’s car and drive off to The Tron for worship. Occasionally, we would stop on the way to pick up an old lady who had phoned to ask for a lift.
Mrs. Long was a fine Christian lady. She was in her 80s and walked with two sticks, slowly but surely. She always came to both Sunday services, and turned up without fail to the midweek prayer meeting. The prayer meeting was held in a hall near the church building which had a number of stairs leading up to the door. Mrs Long struggled painfully up them, and back down again, every week.
We were having a conversation with her in the car one Sunday morning. She was asking for a lift later that evening. Once the pick-up was agreed she concluded by saying, “I don’t mind asking for a lift. Some people get so embarrassed about it, but I don’t. It’s much more important that I’m there worshipping or praying in my right place, than sitting at home unembarrassed.”
Mrs Long made such an impression on everyone by her stamina, commitment and radiant joy, despite her pain, that the stewards always reserved a place for her at the end of one of the pews. They knew she would be on her way.
I have never seen such a witness since. We seem to live in an age when people give up so easily, when Christianity is so flabby and self indulgent. Would that there were more people like Mrs. Long!