Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: It's a Colorful World (12/03/09)
By larry troxell
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“Welcome,” a tall silver haired man beamed as I entered the church, offering me a bulletin, then his outstretched hand, callused from obvious decades of hard labor. I nodded, surveying the couple dozen worshippers and my surroundings, including the broken green tile floor and the brown metal chairs. An Asian woman, dressed in purple from head to toe, was playing an out-of-tune piano as three young girls rehearsed a song, something about the blood of Jesus.
The greeter pointed me to the side of the former billiard hall where a small, almost frail looking lady, was serving glazed donuts and steaming black coffee. Her hair was braided and wrapped in a crown; her smile brighter than her yellow print shirt. I attempted to smile, only accepting a cup of coffee.
As I sipped the very hot, almost scalding, coffee, I read a sepia newspaper clipping taped to the gray painted concrete block wall. The article told of the opening of Everyone Is Welcome church with Bro. Paul Jeremiah as pastor. Located in the Save Money Shopping Center, the church planned to reach out to all walks of life and only the Word of God would be preached.
More newspaper clippings announced the opening of a soup kitchen on Wednesday evenings before Bible Study and a jail ministry on Thursday nights.
Paul Jeremiah finally caught my eye. I knew him as the Christer. I had worked with him at the tire plant years ago. He always went around telling everyone “Jesus loves you!” He preached, and preached, and preached about Jesus. In anger, one day, I called him a Christer. I meant it in derogatory terms, but he had smiled, and said “Jesus loves you.”
He saw me too, with disbelief, and then his black face broke into the biggest, most loving smile I had ever seen. My tears spotted my glasses as I ran into the arms of this minister of the gospel. He embraced me in the most loving bear hug of all eternity.
“Thank you,” I sobbed. “This white boy wants you to know something. Now, I’m a Christer too.”
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