Hello folks, let’s chat… My late Papaw was a Baptist preacher who loved a good prank and everybody around him was fair game. Everyone. He once pulled a good one on a fellow preacher named Jerry Reed.
Brother Jerry Reed was considerably younger than Papaw but they were great friends. In the early days of Brother Jerry’s ministry, Papaw let Brother Jerry get his feet wet by preaching for Papaw on Sunday nights at Riverside Baptist Church in Natchez, MS. One Sunday morning, Papaw asked Brother Jerry what he’d be preaching on that evening.
“Snake handling,” Brother Jerry announced. Say what?! Come to find out, Brother Jerry meant to get the congregation’s attention with the subject matter so he could preach on how to handle the snake of jealousy, the snake of gossip, and so forth. That evening as the congregation reconvened, circumstances presented Papaw with an opportunity the prankster in him simply couldn’t resist. Upon his arrival, one of the deacons mentioned to Papaw that he had run over a huge rattlesnake out front. Oh, really? Papaw happened to know that Brother Jerry had a paper bag beside the pulpit. It held a five foot long rubber snake Brother Jerry intended to use for illustration. Yes, he sure did. Papaw managed to switch that fake rubber snake for the very real but freshly dead one.
Sometime later Brother Jerry was preaching hard and heavy about old Slew Foot and the snakes that trip up the unsuspecting when he became Exhibit A. Reaching the big moment in his sermon, Brother Jerry stuck his hand in that bag to pull out the fake snake and withdrew a warm, scaly one instead. Have mercy! Brother Jerry had himself a handful of snake and he was in an all fire hurry to let it go. With a holler, he threw it over his head, over the choir loft, and into the baptistery. I think they call that a big finish!
I don’t know if anybody got right that night at Riverside Baptist Church, but I think we all know who needed to! Can I get a witness?