A Stranger in the House: Part 4

Part 4. Come to the Altar

I thought, “Is this the moment when he’s going to invite us to the altar?” If so, I was ready to push through anyone I had to in order to get there, and that included the security guards. So, I listened and I waited.

            Then, the moment came for him to speak again and he said, “Choir, let’s hear that verse again.”

            The choir sang again and it seemed like they were never going to stop. When they finished, another fifteen minutes had passed but no one seemed to notice. I wouldn’t have noticed either if there wasn’t a large clock across from me. The choir was good. Real good.

            The pastor had a nice voice too. He sung a few lines and then he said, “I have a word for you today. But before you have a seat, please shake your neighbor’s hand.”

            I didn’t have a neighbor, so I sat down in my seat and grabbed the bible in front of me. Then, I waited.

            He preached about Adam and Eve. It was nice to see that the word hadn’t changed, but I realized it was more than a story. It was an example of how God loves us and has a plan for us even when we disobey him. That was exactly what I needed to hear, but I needed more. I needed that invitation to come to the altar, so I can surrender my life to God.

            At the end of the sermon, the pastor said something very strange. He said, “If you have a prayer request or would like to give your life to Christ, please scan the QR code and someone from the church staff will contact you directly.”

            I looked around and saw people pulling out their phones. “So, what do you do if you don’t have a phone?” I wondered.

            After the service, I planned to ask the pastor, but he was whisked away like a celebrity on the red carpet. I couldn’t believe it. He shook one-maybe two hands, and then he left. Who did he think he was? Even Jesus, to my recollection, stopped and addressed the crowd from time to time.

            As I stormed out of the church, I heard someone calling out to me, but I didn’t stop until the man said my nickname. Of course, he didn’t know it. The first two times he called out to him, he said, “Son, wait!” When I didn’t answer, he said, “Sonny, boy! Hold up a minute!”

            No one had called me Sonny since I was a kid. It reminded me of the good times with my dad- the times before the drugs and alcohol took him away from us. So, I turned around to face the man, who’d caused those memories to flood my mind again after all these years.

            He was around 5’6, medium build with salt and pepper hair. He was at least fifty-five- maybe even sixty.

            When our eyes met, the man said, “You’re a hard man to catch.”
            “What do you want? I didn’t take nothing.” I said, defensively.

            His expression didn’t change and neither did his tone. “That’s the problem. You forgot to take one of these.”

I was taken aback.
He handed me a bag. “The Kitchen Committee prepares these for our special guest every week. It smells so good that I wish I was a visitor.” He said, chuckling.

            “What’s in it?”

            “Mama Mae’s buttermilk biscuits and Brother James’ homemade honey butter. The biscuits are piping hot, so be careful.”

            My stomach growled as the smell hit my nose.

            “Mama Mae always says that the best way to a visitor’s heart is through their stomach. Sounds like she might be right.”

            I took the bag, but I didn’t say anything. Of course, I should have said, thank you, but I just couldn’t figure out why he was being so nice to me. There had to be a reason. There always was.

            “Well, I don’t mean to keep you, but is there anything you need?”
            I stood there, fighting the urge to ask for twenty dollars, so I could get my next fix. 

#To Be Continued#

#Soul Searching Short Story #