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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: At the Pulpit (11/15/07)

TITLE: "Tear On The Pulpit"
By Frank Salerni


“Tear On The Pulpit”

The camaraderie of saints filled the room as the bell in the tower sweetly sounded it’s calling the small community to worship. God’s banquet was prepared for His people. Music played softly as ushers gathered those within the foyer and encouraged people to enter into the sanctuary.

The verbal blessing poured forth from one to another as “How do you do’s” were exchanged. The early morning sunshine was breaking in thru the windows and everything seemed in perfect order as the preacher approached the old solid oak pulpit. His black wingtips squeaked slightly as he turned and faced the congregation. He reached down into a cubby and took a sip of cold water before saying, “Good morning.”

The music came to an abrupt stop, and the voices settled down to complete silence as pastor Tom adjusted his loose fitting glasses. He glanced across the room from the right side to the left, and he seemed distracted a bit as he readjusted his glasses once again.

“I have some good news, and some bad news. The campaign for the needy single parents has far exceeded our expectations, and we now have a surplus of gift certificates that will be awarded to the pregnancy center. I know this is ironic, but the need at the pregnancy center is greater this year than in previous ones. So why are their more pregnancies than the needs of single parents? Sadly, because there are more abortions so that singles can remain free to be single.”

The congregation was silent.

“I had a sermon, as always, prepared for today, but in light of what happened to me this morning on the way to church, I am feeling lead to ask us to join hands and pray.”

This was most unusual for this small country church. They had prided themselves to be an inherently conservatively traditional body of believers.

The faces of the saints that were the “pillars” of this church could not be mistaken. There was obvious disapproval. The pastor was already on shaky ground for changing the format over the last few months “to be more in sync” in his words, with the times. His wife however gave him a reassuring nod from her place in the front row.

“I am moved by the Spirit to spend our time this morning in prayer and fasting.”

He began his prayer by the clearing of his throat. “Dear Lord, it is with great expectation that we come to You this morning. The hitchhiker that I picked up this morning seems to me of more importance than our own comfort zone. My heartbreaks, and my words are weak, because she was running away from home, a home that she loves. Out of respect for her father’s reputation in the community she was willing to run off, and be alone… a castaway of society. God, please bring her to Your grace and mercy, for Your mercies are new every morning. She is pregnant, and she is willing to keep her baby. Help her, Lord. We give You this situation, and we ask this in Jesus name.”

“I would like us to stay in an attitude of prayer this morning, and I would also like to skip the ritual of food and beverages during our fellowship after today’s service.”

With that comment a single tear fell from his cheek, and a quivering lip was seen as he wiped the tear from the pulpit with his sleeve, and pushed his glasses back to rest properly on his nose. He sat down next to his wife and sang a closing song with the choir.

Some people stayed, but many walked out disgusted with all the new fangled changes to the service. Grumbling could be overheard as many left the building. In pastor Tom’s mind he could hear the people shouting… Crucify him… crucify him… crucify him!

He held tightly to his wife’s hand as they silently prayed for a time together. He started to cry more compassionately as only the Lord overheard his prayers.

Forgive her Lord; please forgive our daughter.

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This article has been read 529 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LaNaye Perkins11/23/07
Your ending took me by surprise. I felt like I was right there in the congregation watching this service unfold. Great writing.
Joanne Sher 11/24/07
Very vivid writing - and the end DEFINITELY surprised me as well. Enjoyed this.
Marie Hearty 11/24/07
I loved this story. Shows what a Christian's love should be for the suffering and needy. When I read, 'His mercies are new every morning,' it gave me shivers. Great going.
Christine Rhee11/24/07
Randy Foncree11/26/07
Wow, this is inspiring. What you touched on is the heart of God. Many have a form of godliness, but denies the power of God it takes to touch and change a life. It's not about mere religion, it's about relationship with a God who is truly touched with the feelings of our infirmaties. We sometimes forget that we're His hands and feet in this earth. Thanks for sharing this; very inspiring...Randy
Debbie Wistrom11/26/07
Ditto on all the other comments. If truth is stranger than fiction, something much like this happened at our church, except the runaway part. Thanks to God for his grace.
Laury Hubrich 11/26/07
I was caught off guard at the end, too. Very nice job!
Jeanette Oestermyer11/26/07
A beautiful story. Loved the ending. How could parents turn away their own child? Keep writing, this is good.
Yvonne Blake 11/28/07
Very touching! I like the picture you painted in the first paragraphs. Two small critiques: Don't shorten the spelling of the word "through", and the words near the end of the story don't need to be in quotes. The feelings came out strong. Well done!
Patricia Todd11/29/07
Congratulations! Very well written.
Laury Hubrich 11/29/07
Congratulations on your 1st place entry!