Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: DULL (05/12/17)
- TITLE: Nothing To See Here
By James Cox III
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His baritone voice reached a fever pitch; it was freezing outside but the worshippers inside were toasty warm, swaying back and forth to the melodic strains of the organist while the preacher trumpeted the Word of God.
“…and having done all else, STAND!” He thundered to the attendants of the country church, “STAND STILL and see da salvation of the Lord, for those Egyptians, you see, dat try dey best’ to keep us down, they too shall be drowned and you ain’t gonna see dem no moh foh evah! Stand together, help each uh-thuh out, our God is a GOOD God, YES He IS!”
Every soul in that little rickety building jumped to their feet! Spirits were lifted, hearts were on fire. Their hearts indeed were ten sizes too big that morning! GOD was still their deliverer!
“Yes! YEEESSSSS!” young Esther cried out as the salty tears flowed down her face and onto her worn, but freshly ironed “Sunday” dress.
“Lawd, I know you gonna make a way for me and mine! She quietly whispered to her God and her four young children, “I know you gon’ do it”
After services, Esther hugged friends and extended family and trudged the long walk back home. Her bundled brood of children, like penguins on a march, wearily followed behind her, back to the only existence they knew. Safe in their two room shack, Esther rustled some grub together and after a sparse dinner, read them some Bible verses before stoking the fire in the old, cast iron stove and tucking all of them into bed.
She whispered promises to Thomas, Jacob, Deborah and Abigail, “Momma, gonna make it, God gonna see us thru, ain’t always gonna be like dis”, she sighed, kissed them each and then shuffled off to a worn rocking chair by the fire to work on her “english and math lessons” as she called them.
“One day dear lawd,” she promised herself, “one day”. She crooked her neck over her worn schoolbook and mouthed out some sentences and solved a few addition problems before drifting off to sleep.
Sunday after Sunday flew by, weeks bled into months, months dripped into years and sermons became, well, just sermons.
“Good morning brothers and sisters” the baritone was still deep, but there was something missing, “We’re going to show you a quick clip on our new church sponsored strip mall that we’re building. It’s going to be BEAUTIFUL and benefit so many needy people out there.”
His barrel chest seemed to burst from his tailor-made Italian suit.
“The ushers are coming now, please make sure you give generously to support the Lord’s ministry, God has been good.” he knowingly mumbled as he ambled his way back to his throne like chair.
He stopped and quickly shuffled back to the marble pulpit, “Oh, please forgive me folks”, he said, “But we want to offer our congratulations to our own Esther, whom we should now address as Dr. Esther for earning her Ph.D. in Constitutional Law. Give her a generous round of applause!”
The cavernous auditorium exploded as everyone stood and clapped. A stately, dignified Esther stood to her feet and gave an emotionless wave before slowly sitting back down. Folks quickly returned to the offering preparations and barely looked up as money was unceremoniously dumped in the baskets.
Suddenly, deep, soul wrenching sobs and the sounds of crying interrupted the offering procedures.
“Dear God please help us…We know you’re still the Lord of all, that you change not…we need you so much Lord, please get us thru this… we know you can do anything, but fail...”
People looked around to find the source of this newly discovered noise…all eyes fell to the alter, where many were surprised to see a young man, on his knees, wife by his side, clutching his hand as he bowed his head to the ground, his sides heaving in and out with each breath.
No one approached them, no tissues were offered, no hugs or prayers, even the pastor squirmed uncomfortably not knowing what to do.
Esther looked down the nose of her pearl rimmed glasses at the couple, sniffed lightly and dropped her check in the basket. She glanced at her Rolex and sighed deeply.
"For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed… Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn...” Matthew 13:15
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