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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Holiday (04/05/12)

TITLE: In the Beauty of Your Presence
By Tendi Rice


“Bread and wine setup for communion service-check”
“Offering plates ready for the deacons-check”
“Sound system connected-check”
“Flowers arranged and placed on podium-not done”
“Bulletins placed in foyer ready for guests to pickup-not done”

I still had so much to do and there were only ten minutes left before the church doors would open. I picked up my mobile and gave sister Aretha my third phonecall this morning, but she still would not pickup. “What will I do without the flowers she said she would bring?” I thought, “The stage would surely look empty and unpleasant without them”. I sent one of the young girls to pick a few roses from the church yard in case the flowers did not arrive on time and hurried off to fetch the hymnals from the vestry.

Once the people started pouring in, I stood by the door to help seat them as one of the ushers had not turned up. The chorister on duty had no voice that morning so I arranged for the new guy from Rutland to lead out; I figured it would help him fit in and besides, he had expressed a deep interest in singing. The pastor was running late that morning so I had the pianist pay a few extra songs to keep song service going till he would arrive.

I had spent the past couple of months rehearsing with the children on a presentation they were doing today. I was excited to finally see this day come. As for the children, though a bit frightened, they were ecstatic to finally be getting to do this. I supported them to get ready and setup for their staging. Just before we were scheduled to start, we realized the little angel’s outfits were missing. Two of the little angels started to cry, upset that they would not get to play their part. Fortunately I remembered that my daughters had been angels for their first Halloween and I had their attire buried somewhere in my attic. I convinced my older one, Jenny, to go and rummage through those boxes as quickly as she could. We rearranged their play so they angels came last, which was just in time for Jenny to show up with their pretty winged dresses.

I thought I would sit in and listen to that sermon, but today the church was unusually overflowing, possibly because it was graduation weekend, so the students from our local college had many out-of-town visitors. Plus, we had several guests from the community outreach we had been doing all week. We arranged extra seating for the guests, who trickled in all through the service, ensuring they were welcomed and felt right at home.

As the day came to an end, I had the teens help me to tidy up the church before we locked up. Though I had not heard the sermon, or much else of the service, I felt truly blessed to have spent the day serving the Lord. My daughter came up to me and reminded me to make small conversation as we completed our tasks here. “You really do need to take it easy mum, visit Europe or some fun place with a beach, and of course, you can always take me with you” she said with a big grin on her face. “I love doing this”, I reminded her. “But time out still wouldn’t hurt you”, she insisted, as she continued packing the hymnals. She proceeded to remind me, “And yet, I know you’ll say, a day spent serving the Lord, is a better vacation than a million spent by the beach in Florida, but once again, it still wouldn’t hurt”.

I smiled as I watched my little girl, glad she remembered the scripture I had learnt to live by:

One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship, beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches. I'd rather scrub floors in the house of my God than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin
[Psalm 84:10] The Message

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This article has been read 266 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/13/12
Hmm this was an interesting article. I liked the frenzied pace of it as it matched the MC's state of mind perfectly. I also appreciate all the preparation that goes into something like this and that many of the observers have no clue of all the hard work.

You did surprise me with the ending. I really thought you were going to take me into a Martha and Mary type lesson. Being busy and working so hard does serve the Lord but how sad that the MC didn't take a moment to sit at the Master's feet and soak up the words of Jesus and worship him with her full attention.

I liked the ending a lot. By not going where I expected you to, you showed me that message of how important it is to sit quietly at the feet of God and be still. That was a brilliant way of reminding me that I, too, worry way to much about the little things and I need to remember to just be still and let Jesus fill my heart. Thank you so much for that beautiful gift.
C D Swanson 04/13/12
Beautiful beautiful beautiful! I simply loved this entire story. I smiled so widely at the end.

What a powerful conclusion. That is one-of many- of my favorite verses in Psalms.

Great job with this. Thank you. God bless you~
C D Swanson 04/19/12
Congratulations & God Bless~