Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Fellowship (among believers) (10/11/07)
TITLE: The All Church Cast Party
By Glenn A. Hascall
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Everet and Grace Brown sat with their son and daughter-in-law at the table to my right. Wayne sells insurance and Ronnie Kay likes the fact that insurance sales have given them a nice home. They invite people over often. Hospitality is just normal with the Brownâ€™s.
Mrs. Houk came to church each week without her husband. She falls asleep during the service and snores sometimes. She once caught a fly in a rather violent intake of breath. We donâ€™t bother her though, she has a son with downs syndrome and she is dedicated to taking care of her boy. Sheâ€™s tired.
Mr. Tanouse is the pastor. Heâ€™s from an Arab country and he talks differently than the rest of the folk in the sanctuary. When I eat at their house Iâ€™m never really sure what I am eating and I need lots of water to cool things off. Salam Tanouse loves Jesus and he is the first Arab man I ever met.
Maxine Foster watched her husband as he was lowered in the ground. Sheâ€™s birthed a few babies in her past and taken care of more children in our little congregation than she can remember. She watches the sermon through the nursery window and listens through a little speaker they set up just for her. She loves her grandbabies, but in the dark of night the weight of solitude becomes a burden heavier than she ever thought she would have to bear and she cries.
The Barkmanâ€™s have four children and they are very well behaved. The pastorâ€™s son loves to play jokes by placing toys that squeak right where the children will sit. Everybody seems to expect the noise after we sing hymn 342. I wonder if Mr. Barkman knows his wife will only be attending church with him just a few short years before sheâ€™s called home. You could tell he loves her and sheâ€™s happy to return the favor.
My mental wonderings are forty years in the past and many of these blessed believers are no longer with us. They have taken the rough and tumble of a messy little thing called life and bound it together with other folks who had their own problems and called it the â€˜fellowship of the saintsâ€™.
There were times of potlucks, special singing, as well as ribbon candy, oranges and nuts for Christmas, but there were also times of barn raisings, cattle branding and hauling groceries. In my small town we did for each other and we were family.
Sometimes it was hard to get away from the widow Foster who just wanted someone to talk to, but she always had lemonade and a memory to share and I was taught to respect, so I did.
Sometimes it was hard not to make fun of Mr. Finley and his perennial highwaters, but his genuine niceness made it hard to feel like being mean.
Sometimes it was hard not to think the Brownâ€™s lived in too nice a home, but they were the first to let the youth group come by for a get together.
Sometimes it was hard not to laugh when Mrs. Houke snored, but she never failed to bring her downs boy to church.
Sometimes I wish I could go back and let these people know how much they meant to me, but too much time has passed and they can only know sometime in the future when I can pass along my gratitude and apologize for the misguided notions of childhood from the vantage point of eternity.
They simply faded from view when I was pursuing life and then vanished altogether, but fragments of memories remain and I work to frame them into a patchwork quilt that resembles the heritage they passed along to a kid who probably wasnâ€™t worth their attention, but is warmed by their memories.
Thank you. I really did learn something â€“ and Iâ€™m doing my best to pass it along.
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