Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Church (12/06/07)
TITLE: The Corner of Mesquite and Eubanks
By Betty Castleberry
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The phone call he had received was odd, with the caller identifying himself only as an interested party. The voice on the line asked him to be at the corner of Mesquite and Eubanks at noon.
He looked at his watch again. It was ten minutes after twelve, and the caller had not shown up. The “interested party” should have already arrived. He was beginning to think the whole thing was a joke until a dented black truck pulled up beside him.
The driver was a non-descript man wearing large sunglasses and a ball cap. “Jeremy Stevens?”
“Yes. Are you the person I spoke to on the phone?”
“Yes, I’m Sean Michaels, the one who wants to build the church.”
“Can I ask why you chose this location? It’s pretty desolate, and barely in the city limits.”
The driver stepped out of the truck and tugged on his cap. “It wasn’t me who chose it. I never choose the location, but it’s always the right place.”
Jeremy eyed the man curiously as he continued.
“Since you’re a real estate agent, I thought you could help me with the legalities of purchasing the land.”
“I can help you. We can discuss terms back at my office if you like.”
He seemed to ignore the statement and gazed across the lot. “Listen. Do you hear it?”
Jeremy tipped his head to one side. “The wind?”
“Oh no. It’s the voices of a thousand angels.”
The real estate agent involuntarily took a step back. He found himself wondering if the man was crazy.
“Can’t you hear them?”
“I’m sorry, I can’t.”
Sean stood beside his truck, swaying slightly, his eyes closed. “They sing so beautifully. I wish you could hear them.”
He opened his eyes and pointed, apparently back to the business at hand. “Look over there by the tree stump. That will be the baptistery.”
“This will be a simple wood frame building. There will be no stained glass or fancy trappings of any kind.”
“Well, it should save you a lot of money that way.”
“Mr. Stevens, I’m not worried about the money. I won’t need any for the building itself.”
The agent stuck his hands in his pockets as more thoughts raced through his head. He’d never heard of anyone planning to construct a building without a dime. “Can you get financing?”
Sean chuckled. “I’ve never needed it. This isn’t the first church I’ve built. I go where I hear the singing, and that’s where I build.”
By now, Jeremy wasn’t surprised at the strange statement. “Do you get donations?”
“You might call it that. Soon this lot will be full of lumber and everything else I need to start building.
“Look. There are the lights, dancing across the lot. They’re especially lovely today. I see every color in the rainbow. The white one in the middle is always the brightest.”
Jeremy was very uncomfortable. He thought maybe he should just leave, or perhaps call the police.
Sean spoke again. “To see them, you must look through the eyes of faith. Many people never get to witness their radiance, just like they never hear the singing.” He wiped tears from his eyes and continued. “The songs are there for all of us, but only a few really listen. The lights are ours for the asking, too, but not everyone chooses to see them.”
The young realtor wanted to hurry things along and leave Sean’s company. “I’d like to help you, but I’m afraid you will need money to buy the land. That’s just a reality of life.”
“I always have enough money to buy the land. Never a penny more, but just exactly enough. I need to build this church right away. People may refuse to hear the singing or see the lights, but if there is a building here, they see something. They have a tangible object to help them focus on Jesus. He is the one who made the lights and the one the angels sing for.”
Jeremy looked again at the vacant lot, straining to see anything out of the ordinary. He shrugged and faced Sean. “Maybe you have a point. I can’t say.”
Sean smiled. “Indeed I do, and perhaps you will worship here when the church is built.”
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