• Trey Harper

Batting a Bat

The following article is taken from a book by Kevin VanDeusen

“In 1868 the congregation erected a new meeting house, which was home to a membership of 250 or more persons. Not long after that the congregation engaged Moses Lard for a series of gospel meetings. The evangelist arrived at the arranged time and was met by a large audience of people who were very anxious to hear what the man of God had to offer. Lard was in his prime as a proclaimer of the word, and most of his sermons were classics; but one night he experienced some difficulty. In the new Grassy Spring building the doors were at the back of the pews, and those seated had to turn around in their seats to see the latecomers. That night the incessant turning around was especially disagreeable to Moses Lard who finally interrupted his sermon to tell the audience to quit turning around in their seats to look back toward the open doors. Large said, “If anything worse than a bear comes in, I'll tell you!” with that mild review he returned to his discourse. Soon after a wild animal did come through the open door and completely disrupted the great preacher’s homily.

The animal was a bat which swooped through the doorway and cavorted around the interior of the room, No doubt seeking a free meal from the multitude of insects drawn to the oil lamp light of the sanctuary. as the small creature dived at the pulpit, a most undignified Moses Lard fled for cover. The women we're screeching in fear, the children were squealing with delight and many of the men, with coat tails flapping, were swatting at the tiny mammal with buggy whips. Finally a tall, cool, collected sister took matters into her own hands and “usurped” authority over the unsuccessful men of the congregation. She stood up on the center partition that divided the pews, steadied herself with one hand on a chandelier and calmly waited for the bat to come within striking distance. In the other hand she held a large hat to use as a swatter; And as the animal entered her zone, she took a mighty swing and down went the bat.

…The discourse that night was excellent as usual, and his complete mastery over the preceding distraction demonstrated why Lord was called, “that prince of preachers.””

Cited from “Moses Lard That Prince of Preachers”, p169.