Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Beginning

He wasn't sure how long he had been there. He felt relief and rest. For the first time in a very long time he prayed. The words didn't come easily at first, but soon they began to flow. From somewhere deep inside his heart he began to call out to the One whose words were written in Jeremiah 33:3. He waited for an answer but nothing came. Nothing except that first touch that startled him into thinking that someone was in the room with him. He looked again. No one was there. He stood and walked to the windows where the sun shone in delicately. The stained glass prevented him from seeing outside. He started to step into the foyer to get a better look through clear glass, but something pulled him back inside. He wasn't ready yet to leave the room. Something was happening inside his soul, and he was afraid. Afraid to leave and afraid to stay. He chose to stay. 

This time he picked a seat in the back of the room. He remembered his grandmother calling these wooden benches by a name. What was it? He thought for some time but couldn't remember. Nevertheless he reached down in the rack that was in front of him and pulled out a folded sheet of paper. It was a program of some kind. At the top was a date - last Sunday. Under the date he found what must have been the order that the program would follow. Something called a Call to Worship, followed by a Pastoral Prayer. What in the world was he seeing? The word pastor took him back to the slick speaker who stood before the crowd in the place where his wife had asked him to go a few months ago. He was polished and seemed to have all of the answers for life. That day he talked about steps to a healthy marriage. They hadn't worked, by the way. His marriage was in more of a crisis now than it had ever been. He tried each one of the steps. For forty days he worked on being a better man, a better husband, a better father. The harder he worked the worse he got. Now here he was off in the middle of some country place far removed from any civilization that he could see - except for this building at the end of the winding road. Others obviously travelled the road. The ruts in the dirt gave that much away. There was landscaping, and the room was well taken care of, but it seemed very simple. Not at all like the structure back in the town where he had a house, a yard, a car, a job, and a family. 

As he looked at the program he noticed that there was singing, an offering, and preaching. That seemed familiar to him for a couple of reasons. Back in history he remembered a time when he visited his grandmother, and she took him - or brought him - to church. Was this the place? The meeting he had been to months before back in the city had music and speaking and some people passing chicken buckets around asking for money. They prayed too. He remembered because at the end they said "Amen", the universal sign for everyone to open his eyes and focus on the front again.

He struggled to remember. Why could he not remember? This place must have been the place where his grandmother brought him. Back then it was uncomfortable, and he couldn't wait to get out. Now he felt safe, and he didn't want to leave. What happened next left him frightened and in awe.

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