Mable Norton sat quietly in her wheelchair at the end of the pew, her hands resting on her worn cherished Bible. Through moist eyes, sunbeams danced like rainbows that reflected through a stained glass window. A wooden cross stood behind a matching Bible lectern exhibiting a bronze looking eagle draped in purple ribbons.
A young lady began to read from the scriptures. Her speech was lucid and dramatic; bringing the words to life. Paul’s conversion was always a favorite and as she sat as upright as she could, she listened as though it was the first time she had heard the story.
Voices of the choir filled her ears and her very soul. “Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life…”
Lord, it’s been five years since I’ve sung those words and another ten since my move to the city. I’ve been away too long. I’ve missed this town. I’ve missed this church. Oh, I know it’s really just a building and I so much enjoyed our own little worship times in my room, but to meet with other believers is what I’ve missed most.
The choir’s hymn ended and the preacher approached the pulpit. There are so many new faces, Lord, so many changes. Thank you for Carla, this new friend who’s willing to go out of her way to bring me to church. Thank you for giving me life and the opportunity to be here again.
The preacher prayed and Mable’s heart soared with his words that lifted heavenward. Eager to hear everything this man had to say, she focused on his melodic voice. It was so good to hear this man who obviously knew The Word. Lord, how blessed are these people to have this man to minister to them.
Distracted by a small child standing on the next pew, Mable observed the short black locks that rimmed the little face. She reminded Mable of someone but wasn’t sure who. The little girl smiled before Mable again turned her attention to the preacher.
Everyone stood for the final hymn, ‘Just as I am’. Silent unashamed tears streamed down Mable’s face as she remembered the sweet song she sang when she gave her life to Jesus, so many years before.
Following the final verse, Carla wheeled her toward the side door where the preacher was greeting the congregation. A woman stepped closer pushing a stroller. “Mrs. Norton, is that you?”
Carla made the introductions. “Mable, this is Pamela Goldsmith. Pamela was our most treasured Sunday School Superintendent. She’s taking a break until Therese is a little older.”
Pamela smiled, obviously understanding the situation. “Mrs. Norton, do you remember me?”
Mable looked into Pamela’s eyes and then the child’s. She felt the left side of her mouth lift as she suddenly recognized the once little girl who had been the terror of the Sunday School. Therese looked just like her mother as a child.
The line had progressed and the little group was now facing the preacher. Pamela excitedly introduced Mable to the Reverend Charles O’Malley. “Mrs. Norton was my favorite teacher; she never gave up on me. She taught me the love of Jesus and the true meaning of worship.”
Mable accepted Reverend O’Malley’s gentle handshake. “Well, Mrs. Norton, it’s a pleasure to have you here.”
They moved into the hall where Carla left her parked next to Therese. Mable’s heart ached. Lord, I’d dearly love to hug Pamela and tell her how glad I am to see her. I’d love to hold her child in my arms.
Pamela knelt and lifted Therese from the stroller. Disappointment tinged Mable’s thoughts until Pamela moved closer with the child on her hip. “Would you like hold her?”
She managed her lopsided smile again as Pamela carefully placed the child on her lap and then eased her limp arm around Therese. Pamela’s hands kept the child steady while Therese and Mable sat smiling at each other.
Carla returned as the child became restless. Pamela handed Therese to a handsome gentleman who had joined them. “Derek, this is Mable Norton. Mrs. Norton, my husband Derek.”
“Pamela has often talked about you, Mrs. Norton. I’m pleased to finally meet you.”
While Carla helped Mable with her cup of tea, she allowed the ambiance to saturate her presence. She listened to the chatter and the children’s laugher. Lord, thank you for these people. Thank you that I’m able to worship with them and for your beautiful words, your wonderful words of life.
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