I felt naked, exposed. Why hadn't I put my hair up? What was I thinking to wear this turquoise jumper when I have a simple navy suit in my closet? Every eye in the congregation was on me, checking me out.
I had been asked to do the children's story on this muggy Sunday morning at Glen Haven Baptist Church. Standing near the altar surrounded by bright-eyed youngsters, I asked, “Who knows the name of Jesus' mother?”
No less than twenty hands waved wildly as high as little arms could reach. Before I could choose one to answer, he stood up. Carrot-colored hair curled around his head giving the effect of a halo. He was small, maybe six or seven with freckles covering every inch of his face except for the bright blue eyes staring into mine.
“King James Virgin!”
Silence fell over the sanctuary. I wanted to laugh; I wanted to cry. My eyes went to my husband who was seated in the front pew waiting to be introduced and welcomed as the new pastor. He nodded that special nod of encouragement that I had come to cherish in our young marriage; the nod that says I am with you no matter what.
Taking a deep breath, I ran my hand through his carrot-colored curls as I heard a chorus of young voices, “Mary!”
Finishing my story quickly I took my seat beside my husband. He squeezed my hand warmly and stood to take the pulpit.
Podiums are not built with Brick Wingate in mind and this one barely reached his waist. His size alone made one's jaw drop and then there's his broad smile sweeping across his boyish face. But, it's the tone of his voice that holds the audience, deep and commanding.
“Take your Bibles and turn with me to the book of Exodus, Chapter 3. For the next several Sundays we're going to be studying how God used Jonah to lead the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt.”
My husband preached a dynamic message all the while giving full credit to Jonah.
Riding home after the service I looked at my big handsome husband. “You had to do it, didn't you?”
“Misty, whatever do you mean?”
“You know full-well what I mean. Your little OOPS. Jonah, indeed!”
Throwing back his head he laughed full and deep as dark strands of hair fell upon his face. “Hey, you never know. You've got your work cut out for you with King James Virgin boy.”
“You don't know the half of it! Later, during Sunday School he starting rolling on the floor in pain. When I tried to help, he informed me he was having a wife like Adam did!”
“I can't wait to meet his parents! So, you think I should have skipped the OOPS, huh?”
“Brick, I think you're going to do just what God leads you to do and I'm going to support you whatever it is. I just don't want to see you hurt.”
“Misty, my love, we're going to learn much about these precious people. I'm trusting God to show me how to help them.”
Long days followed that Sunday with many of the congregation confronting Brick in the Pastor's study. Following each meeting Brick would follow the person to the door and send them off with a bear hug. Fielding the Flock, he called it.
As each left, he would open his desk drawer and make a note. Names went under forgiving, faithful, fertile, foolish, frank, frigid, fruitful, false, fearful, fickle, fireworks, flesh, fight, friction, furious and a few went under foundation.
As time went by, Brick was able to move many names over into the foundation list as he worked with the flock God had given him.
And oh, just in case you're interested. King James Virgin boy...well his parents were listed under fun where they stay until this day. He, on the other hand, just preached his first message, Noah floated stock, everyone else was in liquidation.
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