Jerry sat in the front pew of an old stone church. Organ music played as the congregation sat silently as though frozen in time. The air with thick and heavy as though a window or door had not been open for a hundred years. The only light in the church came through the giant stained glass window behind the pulpit. The dark purple and red pains of glass let in little light, creating a dusty look to everything and everyone there. How long Jerry had sat in this front pew, he did not know. He felt like he had been there forever, and the heaviness in the air made it hard to move even a muscle.
The music came to stop with the echo of the organ lingering through the building. A large fat man made his way slowly to the pulpit pausing to catch his breath. He was an eloquent speaker and had dazzled the congregation with his fancy words for years. Arriving finally behind the pulpit he stared back at the people with large tired blue eyes. After announcing the various activities for the week he waved both arms to his left to introduce the guest speaker.
Having done his job, he slowly walked to his seat, leaving a rather young looking man behind the pulpit. Jerry disliked the look of him and his clothing was not up to pare for the normal attire of the church. The young man smiled back at the people, who were now focusing their attention on him. He squinted a bit and Jerry snickered. The man probably realized that in the dim light he could barely see the faces of his audience.
“I am going to read a bit from the Bible today”, he announced with a grin. There was a bit of a whisper in the crowd. Jerry felt the same. This was going to be boring. The man opened the giant Bible set upon the podium in front of him. The large book creaked with old age and let out a puff of dust as he found the page. He coughed a bit and gave the audience a nervous smile.
“I am going to start reading from I Corinthians chapter one.” No one made an attempt to follow along. Jerry wanted to reach for his Bible under his seat but it just seemed like too much effort. The man cleared his throat.
“This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus and from our brother Sosthenes*.” His voice seemed to get muffled in the stiffness of the air. He paused for a moment trying to make out the looks on the faces in front of him. There was complete silence. He read on.
Jerry’s eyes seemed to want to close. The drone of the reading seemed to lull him to sleep in the dark room. His mind wondered high above the church seeing the green fields and forests. He loved the beauty of the wildflowers and the fresh air…
His eyes suddenly popped open. He thought he had heard a noise; a slight rattling. The man was still reading and was on chapter two already.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when I first came to you I didn’t use lofty words and brilliant ideas to tell you God’s message*.”
There it was again. It seemed something in the church was making a clatter that sounded like two pieces of glass rubbing against each other. He scanned the room to see where it was coming from. No one seemed to notice but him. As the rattling got louder Jerry realized that it was coming from the front of the church. He scanned the front of the stage looking for some sign of motion. Looking up towards the ceiling of the church Jerry finally pinpointed it. At the very top of the stained glass window two pains of the glass seemed to be moving against each other.
“Must be a strong wind outside”, he thought to himself. He tried to ignore the noise and get back to his daydream but it seemed to only be growing louder. He noticed now that four pains of glass seemed to be moving against each other…no now it was six. Currently everyone in the congregation was staring at the window wide-eyed. It seemed that the window began to shake more and more. Yet despite the noise the man reading just went on, as though he was completely oblivious.
The whole glass shook and Jerry gripped his seat wondering what kind of storm would possibly cause this. It was getting louder and louder by the second. Slowly the window began to bend inwards as though someone was trying to get through. All sat silently watching. Jerry wanted to get up and run out but seemed unable to move.
BASH! A burst of sunlight pierced through the room as the window broke with a blast and pieces of stain glass feel all over the stage. The church took on a different feel as the light filled every corner. A large amount of dust had been thrown into the air by the explosion and it slowly settled as the young man gradually finished his passage.
“I did this so that you might trust the power of God rather than human wisdom*.” He looked up from his reading clearly seeing the now stunned faces of his audience, shut the large Bible, and sat down. There was complete silence and everyone looked at the green tree branches that were now poking through where the stained glass window used to be.
“OH!” there was a sudden cry. A lady had leaned over to whisper something in her girlfriend ear and instead found in her place a sickly looking woman with a thick layer of dust resting upon her. The cry caused everyone to look and then each one made the shocking discovery. Within the dark walls of the church everyone had appeared perfectly fine and normal but now in the bright sunlight, they quickly saw the faces of their family and friends. They were deathly pale and some of them looked as though they had only a few days to live.
Jerry glanced at his own hands. They were white as snow and his clothes were filthy as though they had not been washed in months. He questioned in his mind what many were saying aloud.
“How long had he been there without realizing the condition he was in. How long had it been since he had even listened to the word of God to find out his spiritual condition.” The room became noisy as the people began to talk to each other for the first time in a great while. Everyone was trying to dust each other off, and to help those most in need.
Jerry reached under his pew, grabbing his very dusty Bible. Tears fell from his eyes. Dusting the cover off, he opened his Bible and began to read.
*NLT I Corinthians 1:1, 2:1, 2:5
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