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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Pastor (11/30/06)

TITLE: Wake Up, Jimmy!
By Sharlyn Guthrie


“Wake up, Jimmy.” Lisa approached the bed and gently shook his shoulder. “Time to rise and shine,” she sang.

“I’m sleeping in today.”

“It’s Sunday, Silly! We have to get ready for church.”

“I’m not going today. Josh and Steve aren’t going. They get to go hunting instead.”

“Yeah? Well it’s their loss. Sundays are for worship and fellowship, not hunting.”

“Fellowship?” Jimmy sat up, rubbing his droopy eyes. “Did you say fellowship? I don’t have any real friends at church.”

“Of course you do, Jimmy. Everyone adores you. Where do you get these ridiculous ideas?”

“Think about it. It’s church. They’re obligated to act nice, but who really cares about me? If I didn’t show up no one would even notice.”

Lisa shook her head. It was no use arguing. A heavenly aroma drifted in from the hallway. “I’ve got to take the muffins out of the oven. They’re chocolate chip…your favorite.” Nearing the door she paused, then turned, reaching inside the closet. She pulled out a crisp blue shirt hung over khaki dress slacks. Jimmy sat motionless as she hung them on the closet door handle, then shot him a look that said, “No more discussion.”

Poking her head in the girls’ room, she saw that they were already primping before their mirror. “The muffins are done,” she announced.

Rachel and Shelby were right on her heels as she reached the kitchen. They chattered noisily as they munched their muffins and gulped their milk. As they finished and scampered off to brush their teeth, Jimmy shuffled into the room. “Morning,” he mumbled under his breath.

Without looking up Lisa quipped, “I thought you weren’t going to church today.”

“I couldn’t get back to sleep.”

Lisa set the plate of muffins in front of Jimmy, placed her hand over his, and prayed. “Father in Heaven, thank You for this glorious day –this day that You have made. Set our minds on You and prepare our hearts for worship. Forgive our apathy and our selfishness. Bless now this food to its intended use, and our bodies to Your service. Amen.”

Jimmy peeled away a muffin paper, avoiding Lisa’s smile, that was no doubt as convicting as her prayer. The space between them hung as silent as the curtains at the kitchen window. Lisa was relieved to see that he was wearing the shirt and pants she had chosen for him. Who knows what he might have chosen to wear?! At least she had managed to avoid additional tension over clothing. Jimmy hadn’t always felt this way about going to church, but Lisa knew that she had said enough, maybe even too much. From her background in Psychology she knew all about phases and life stages. She would just have to commit Jimmy’s moodiness to the Lord and wait.

The family gathered near the door, Bibles in hand. Lisa gave the girls a once-over. She tucked Rachel’s curls behind her headband and re-tied Shelby’s bow, making the loops even. She adjusted Jimmy’s shirt collar and combed his hair with her fingers, finally brushing the back of her hand along the side of his face. His eyes met hers for a brief moment.

Lisa selected an up-beat praise and worship CD for the family to listen to as she drove them to church. She prayed silently as the girls belted out the words to the songs from the back seat.

Music continued as the service began. The worship team skillfully wove scripture and prayer throughout their musical offerings, turning the congregation’s focus outward and upward to God.

After several announcements, a moving piece by the choir, and an update on church finances, it was almost time for the pastor to present his message. Lisa prayed fervently as Deacon Findley nodded in their direction and then motioned with his hand. “Pastor Jim, I’ll turn it over to you.” She watched as Jimmy stood and strode to the podium.

“Shall we pray?” he asked. Then he began, “Father in Heaven, thank You for this glorious day –this day that You have made. Set our minds on You and prepare our hearts for worship. Forgive our apathy and our selfishness…” Suddenly he opened his eyes and winked at Lisa, who sat gaping at him from the front row.

Pursing her lips, Lisa rolled her eyes at her husband.

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This article has been read 909 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mo 12/07/06
Nicely done. I like the twist at the end.
julie wood12/09/06
I loved this story--from its title all the way to its unexpected ending. The family really came alive for me through their dialogue and the descriptions of specific details. I felt as though I were there, feeling Jimmy's antagonism (I could relate to that because I felt the same way about church as a child), seeing the cute little sisters, and even tasting those chocolate chip muffins! Great job!
Jan Ackerson 12/10/06
I guessed right away who Jimmy was (I read a similar situation once, with a principal), but that didn't detract from the delight of this piece. Every character was fully developed and real, and your writing has a light, pleasant touch.
Cheri Hardaway 12/11/06
You had me fooled. Having raised two sons and two daughters, your description of Jimmy matched my sons perfectly! So I was surprised to see Jimmy was the pastor! A fun twist. Blessings, Cheri
Catrina Bradley 12/11/06
The twist really got me! I had to re-read it a second time knowing the end. writing. I love your characters. Very well done - excellent.
Joanne Sher 12/12/06
I definitely did NOT see the twist coming! Great description and detail.
Marty Wellington 12/12/06
I was clueless as welll; never saw it comin'. Wonderful character development and storyline. Loved it.
Lynda Schultz 12/12/06
Clever! I didn't see it coming either.