The first flakes of snow had begun falling at midnight. When Angie arrived at The Little Chapel of the Eternal Gospel to dust pews, at least four inches blanketed everything. A group of boys, excited to have a “snow day” off from school, were busy rolling a ball of snow across the church lawn. By the time Angie stamped the snow from her boots, she could see the boys pushing the growing snowball into the neighboring yard.
As she entered the sanctuary Mrs. Beck called, “Oh, Angie, it is so good to see you. I have something sad to report. We must pray for poor Beatrice. She has terrible hives. Itching all over, I’m afraid! When I called her this morning to ask how I should decorate the communion table, she was in misery!”
“Oh,” said Angie, “I wonder what caused that?”
“Well, she says it must be the new laundry soap she used last week. But you know what I think? I think it’s that husband of hers. Sometimes I think he drives poor Beatrice to distraction…if you know what I mean… Oops! Did I say that? Anyway, I offered to call the prayer chain with her need, but she said “No”. But since I knew you’d be here, I thought if you knew about it you’d pray for her.”
When Angie left “Little Chapel” the snow had stopped. She could see the same group of boys over a block away, still pushing the now giant snowball. Angie walked briskly home, thinking about poor Beatrice Chalmers. She certainly had her crosses to bear… Maybe it would be good to call her friend, Janie, with the prayer request.
“Janie, please pray for Beatrice. Mrs. Beck told me that she has some sort of skin condition. I think it must be the shingles. Poor Beatrice! Her husband is so mean to her sometimes…I wonder what he’s done this time that’s upset her so?”
“You don’t suppose he’s been stepping out on her, Angie? --Oops! Did I say that? Surely Mr. Chalmers wouldn’t do a thing like that!”
“I should hope not! Well, I’d better go. Don’t forget to pray!”
“I certainly won’t!”
A few minutes later Janie Finn was on the phone to her good friend, Mildred. “Oh, Millie, you simply must pray for Beatrice. She has the shingles something terrible and it’s all because of that awful husband of hers. He’s been seeing another woman on the side, and it’s making Beatrice a nervous wreck. You don’t suppose it’s that new woman that just started attending “Little Chapel”, do you? --Oops! Did I say that? Hmmm… You don’t happen to know that new woman’s name, do you?”
After a long silence Millie said, “I have no idea.”
“Well, it doesn’t matter. Just pray, Millie, OK? Maybe you could pass on the request, too?”
“I’ll pray for the Chalmers, but I don’t think I’ll pass on the request to anyone else. I don’t want to offend you, Janie, but what you’re telling me sounds a lot like gossip. Did you get this information from Mrs. Chalmers?”
“…No, but believe me, I got it from a very reliable source! Well, if you don’t want to pass on the prayer request, that’s fine, I’ll just call someone else to pray. The more the better when it comes to prayer, I’ve always said.”
As the sun set that afternoon Pastor Jones stepped into the frigid air and turned to lock the door of “Little Chapel”. “What a day”, he thought to himself. He had just got off the phone with the weeping Mrs. Chalmers, after having a long, uncomfortable talk with Mr. Chalmers. It seems that it was all over church--if not all over town--that Mrs. Chalmers had the shingles from being upset over Mr. Chalmers having an affair with a new woman in the congregation. It appeared that the truth was far simpler: Mrs. Chalmers had hives from using new laundry soap. The downside: the Chalmers were through with “church” in general, and with “Little Chapel”, for sure.
“Hello, Mister!” called a boy from the church yard. He leaned tiredly against a snowball nearly ten foot tall. “See this. We wanted to make the world’s biggest snowman, but it’s just one big ‘Oops’. It’s too tall for us to finish.”
“Well, son, it’s a fine big snowball, anyway. We’ll just keep it here on display in the yard of The Little Chapel of the Eternal Gossip!”
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