Saturday, June 10, 2006

Thinking 'bout Shields

I couldn't help but think about Shields Dalton last night.

When the McKameys and Inspirations opened the Hometown Singing at Central Baptist Church in Oak Ridge with "How Beautiful Heaven Must Be," I was taken back to Clear Springs Baptist Church, circa 1980-something. The choir would have been singing that song. And Shields was our pastor. What a pastor he was.

He was a big man, with big hands and a big voice. You could hear it reverberate all through the church. I can still see him standing there at the top of the steps in the old church building, the one that isn't there anymore. He'd be waiting with a smile, a handshake and a word for all who passed. He was the first one there and the last to leave.

Shields was my moral compass for many years. He didn't cut any corners. Right was right and wrong was wrong. And if you had any doubts, the Bible was the final authority. Sometimes I'll pull out a cassette tape and listen to one of his sermons. It's usually accompanied with a lot of tears.

He's in heaven now. He's been there for 16 years. I think about him nearly every Sunday and unfairly hope I'll find his like again, standing tall behind a pulpit somewhere, telling me that Jesus loved me so much, he shed his blood for my sins.

But that won't happen. Not down here anyway. For, you see, Shields Dalton knows how beautiful heaven must be. He wouldn't come back if he could.

I'm just looking forward to the day when I'll see him again.


Anonymous Dfdyer said...

Mr. Mabe,
Just read your posting "Thinking 'bout Shields." Just wanted to say "thanks" for the uplifting memories this posting will bring to the surface. I am married to one of "Little Bobby Dalton"'s gradsons and have heard many tales about him singing in church. Unfortunately I never got to hear him personally but feel like I have after hearing the many stories about him through the years. If only we could all live our lives as committed as both the Mr. Dalton's. Certainly a motivation! Thanks for the reminder.
Donna Dyer

10:58 AM  

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