The old-fashioned harmonium was used in smaller churches of the 19th century. It was a small keyboard organ in which the tones were produced by forcing air through the metal reeds by means of bellows operated by pedals.
The sexton was the name of the church official who was in charge of maintenance. One thing he was supposed to do was see to it that the harmonium was ready for Sunday services.
One particular Sunday, in a rather small rural church, the organist wanted to make an impression on the visiting minister with her musical ability. She wrote a note to the old sexton, who had been a little slack in his work of pumping enough air for the organ, and handed it to him just before the service started.
However, making a mistake, the sexton passed the note on to the visiting speaker, who opened it, and read,
“Keep blowing away until I give the signal to stop!”1
“And He gave some pastor-teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). “Pastors and teachers are included under one class.”2
“A preacher should have the skill to teach the unlearned simply, roundly, and plainly, for the teaching is of more importance than exhorting” (Martin Luther).3
© 2017 D & L Publications
- A Treasury of Humor, Clyde Murdock, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, Copyright 1967, “Calling The Signals”
- Word Meanings in the New Testament, Ralph Earle, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 3473, Peabody, MA, 01961-3473, Copyright 1974, p. 312