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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: light (05/24/04)

TITLE: Praise the Lord, I Saw the Light . . . Almost
By Patricia Sheets


That darn preacher! He couldnít tell time if he had Big Ben strapped to his wrist, yet he claims to have a doctorate! He must have graduated from the ďLetís Keep Everyone In Church Until They Starve To DeathĒ Theological Seminary. Well, I have had just about enough of his nonsense!

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

Member Comments
Member Date
Gary Sims05/31/04
Very humorous piece. I really enjoyed it. Your character seems extreme but it makes you wonder how many hidden agendas are really going through people's minds when they are in church. Great job.
Marie B. Corso05/31/04
A wonderfully creative piece. But I wondered if the last line should not have been, "Funny, I'm not hungry anymore." Seeing a sinner come to Christ should satisfy us.
Gary Sims05/31/04
Patricia - I also meant to mention that I thought the transition at the end from "complainer" to "almost seeing" was a little abrupt. When working with short story formats transitions are critical. Sometimes it requires leaving out some of the earlier detail in order to make sure your reader gets through the transition easily. Still, a very good story.
Dan Blankenship 05/31/04
[Now both the Methodists and Presbyterians will be us to the buffet!] Should have been BEAT, but other than that small mistake, it was an awesome story. I love your writing style. Great job on this one!

God Bless.
Dan Blankenship
Kevin Kindrick05/31/04
Hmm...sounds familiar.
Anyway, loved the story, makes you laugh, then think.
God bless.
Tammy S. Eudy05/31/04
I liked the humor, needs a little work, should have ended on a more serious note. Over all it was great! It reminds
us what really is important, salvation!!!!!!!
Tammy S. Eudy05/31/04
Hey I forgot to add, your story did make laugh! It got my vote!!!
Deborah Porter 06/01/04
Patricia, classic story! You had me chuckling but made a great point too. Considering the 750 word limit, I think you worked the change of heart quite well and personally, I loved the fact that you gave it a twist of fun back in the end. Very enjoyable read! With love, Deb
B Price06/01/04
I liked it, it was funny.
and made a point that we shouldn't think of the time, and it is all GOD"S time anyways.
I think many of us that are Baptist can relate to a point in our live that we were this way. Thank goodness, I don't even think about time now.
a very cute ad good story.
thanks for sharing.
Jenny Smith06/01/04
I laughed at the beginning, since I will admit I have been guilty! thanks for reminding me the reason we are at church with a laugh!
L.M. Lee06/02/04
this was a hoot! Talking about being hungry with a pastor named "Cook" too good!

Loved it! My kind of humor!
Annette Agnello06/02/04
Your ďheroĒ had a bad attitude!
Years ago I used to sit by an elderly woman who slept in church and snored, loudly. Her husband was always beside her but so deaf he didnít hear the snoring.
Every church has its share of such memorable characters.
Lynne Gaunt06/04/04
Just had a discussion in my ladies Bible study about the "sacrifice of praise". So often we aren't willing to sacrifice even the small amount of time we spend in worship on Sundays! This piece hit home in a way that we can laugh at ourselves, but perhaps seek to change. Enjoyed it very much. Well done!
Mary Elder-Criss06/06/04
Enjoyable piece. Being a Pentacostal, I gave up a long time ago on making it to the lunch buffet earlier than the Methodists, Baptists, etc...But "Soul food" has a way of lingering. Enjoyed your humor.