With eyes full of despair, Pastor Dan pasted a smile on his face as cars began pulling into the parking lot. “God, please do something to restore peace and harmony,” he prayed, heavy-hearted because many in his small church weren’t on speaking terms.
He wondered how it had gotten this bad. Oh, he knew that Christians are still just people, flawed and imperfect, but things had been festering for so long that most had forgotten what made them mad in the first place. It was like a snowball gathering size and momentum, crushing everything in its path. People were hurting and taking it out on each other, gossiping and taking sides.
Some would say later it was all just a device of the devil to cause division and dissension. Maybe that’s true, but most can give themselves over to spitefulness quite well on their own without any help from the devil.
Regardless of where the blame lay, division and dissension had taken over. The irony was that everyone was feeling the burdensome weight of nursing their grudges and bitterness. They wanted it to end but no one was willing to make the first move. Well, something had to give, that was for sure. Good people can only tolerate so much meanness and bad attitude. Either the church was going to crumble or things needed to be resolved. The latest feuding was about what color the new carpet should be. Seems it took little to get the good church folk riled up.
Who would have thought that God would restore peace and harmony through the outlandish antics of two toddlers?
Pastor Dan hoped the meeting this evening would settle the carpet problem once and for all. Discouraged, he felt he had failed in his pastorate. He had cried and prayed until there were no tears left. He knew that deep down, these were really good people, but he had been unable to restore unity and love to this congregation. He didn’t know what else to do, wondering if he should resign.
The first to arrive were Maggie and her family followed by Patsy and her family, each keeping a significant distance from the other. They had been friends since childhood, but hadn’t spoken in two years over some rift that neither could remember.
Everyone was frowning or scowling as they entered the sanctuary. You’d thought it was a funeral they were attending.
Pastor Dan opened in prayer, his wife by his side. Two minutes into the meeting, things got really heated with insults flying, and no one willing to back down.
“Red is a charming color.” Martha spouted, hands on her hips.
“Red is the devil’s color. Blue is peaceful.” Clarence pounded the pew.
“Hogwash! We need a neutral color like brown!” Roberta glared at Martha and Clarence.
Amidst the chaos, neither Maggie nor Patsy noticed when their three-year-olds slipped off the pews.
Several tense moments later, Pastor Dan’s gaze shifted to the back of the church. His eyes widened in surprise. Immediately a small grin curled the corners of his mouth.
Faint giggling started at the back of the church, followed by a few muffled chuckles. Marching up the center aisle was Maggie’s three-year-old Melissa, tugging at something white snarled in her long hair. Next to Melissa was Patsy’s Andrew whose underwear clad body, including his head, was covered in white rectangles. Upon closer examination, it was obvious that Andrew was covered with feminine hygiene pads the little ones had found while rummaging around in the ladies’ restroom.
“Look, mommy! I’m La-rus….raisins from the dead.” He was so proud because he thought he looked just like Lazarus from their picture lesson that morning.
“Tain’t get it out, mommy,” Melissa whined, tugging at her hair.
Except for muffled chuckling, silence prevailed as the two stood there in all their beguiling innocence, Melissa pouting as Andrew grinned widely. He climbed onto the platform, stretched out his arms, spinning around to give his mommy an overall view. This caused a few white strips to come loose, float briefly in the breeze from the ceiling fans before fluttering to the floor.
Suddenly laughter erupted, building to a deafening crescendo, people holding their sides, tears of laughter streaming down their cheeks. Everyone began falling all over each other as they laughed, hugging, crying, and apologizing.
Love and forgiveness swept over them in soothing waves of sheer joy, restoring peace, harmony and friendships.
Alas, poor Andrew! For years people couldn’t look at him without chuckling.
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