Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: light (05/24/04)
TITLE: Praise the Lord, I Saw the Light . . . Almost
By Patricia Sheets
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Every Sunday, Pastor Cook preaches until after noon. Any good Baptist preacher should know that the service is supposed to end promptly at 11:59 a.m. That allows just enough time to shake a few hands, rush out the door, and beat the Methodists to the all-you-can-eat buffet down the street. Maybe tall, skinny preachers donít get hungry! Well, I do get hungry, and if he keeps us late again today, I plan to take action.
Okay, itís 11:53. How can I get his attention to cue him itís time to end? I know! When he glances in this direction, Iíll smile and point to my watch. Heís looking this way . . . he looked right past me! Heís got some nerve! This will definitely require more aggressive action.
There must be other hungry people here today. Maybe I can recruit them to assist. Thereís no help on this pew. Dear Ole Hubby sitting next to me thinks the sermon should be longer, and Miss Annie on the other side is 94 years old and sleeps through the service. Maybe Andy will help. His wife has been dragging him to church for three months now, but he wants no part of religion. Week after week he sits there, waiting for the service to end like a sprinter waits at the starting line.
Wait a minute! I think heís about to end the service. Praise the Lord! What! Turn to John 1:9! You canít read scripture at 11:57! I think itís against the church by-laws. ďThat was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.Ē What a joke! If he keeps on preaching, we may never see the light of day again!
This is great! My stomach is growling like a rabid dog, the preacher is still reading scripture, itís now 11:58, and Miss Annie is leaning against my shoulder, drooling on my arm! Maybe if I drop a hymnal in the floor sheíll wake up. BAM! Yea, that worked! I feel something warm and wet . . . Miss Annie, you didnít! Itís my fault; you should never startle a 94-year-old woman with bladder problems.
Iíve had it! Itís 11:59, Iím hungry, Iím wet, and Iím mad! As soon as the service is over, the Deacon Board will hear from me. Iíll have them shed some ďtrue lightĒ on Pastor Cook! I want his resignation!
Itís 12:00! Now both the Methodists and Presbyterians will be us to the buffet! At least weíre getting ready to sing the last hymn. I hope it only has one verse. I can just taste the chicken casserole and hot rolls!
The songís almost over and no one has gone forward. We should at least be able to beat the Catholics to lunch. What! You want to sing the last verse again? No, no, no! Wait a minute. Andyís going forward! Andy, who is a drug addict! Andy, whoís been in jail! Andy, who said he hated religion, is going forward! Maybe heís going to punch the preacher in the nose for keeping us so long. No, it looks like heís crying. And praying. And accepting Jesus.
I feel so ashamed. Iíve been sitting here through the entire service, complaining and worrying about my stomach while Pastor Cook was worrying about lost souls. Had he stopped preaching on my timetable rather than Godís, Andy might not have seen the Light. I guess I saw the Light today, also. Never again will I chastise the pastor for preaching past noon. Next Sunday Iíll just bring a bologna sandwich and a towel. Pastor Cook can preach until midnight!
Maybe I should go forward . . . no, looks like Andy is going back to his seat. The service is over! Iím out of here while thereís still time to beat the Catholics!
© Patricia Sheets May 2004