By Daniel L. Tam
The clouds of a very severe storm appeared to be gathering, as Marcus Alftwst left the house on Sunday morning, though he paid little attention to them. He had arisen at 6 A.M., fixed breakfast, read the paper, washed last night’s and this morning’s dishes, watched a usual weekend T.V. program and then prepared, as he had done for the last 23 years, to attend worship services.
A little rain will not stop me, he amused, as he drove the seven and four tenths miles to the medium sized wooden building, already nearly filled with morning worshipers. A little flutter of exasperation nagged his mind, as he noticed Harris Tubid’s old Pontiac parked in his space. Harris only comes to church about once a month, he thought, and then he gets my space. He always does that. Well, some people just do not care. With that, Marcus pulled to the end of the lot, and considered that he might get wet if the rain hit before the end of the service. Maybe he should send Tubid his cleaning bill. Oh well!
Ronald Audie was already making the morning announcements, when Marcus, after convincing an entire row of people to scoot down, was able to get his seat. If we had our names on our seats, he thought, then maybe everybody and his brother would not plop down in them . . . people just do not care . . . they just do not! Marcus wished that Ronald Audie would not attempt to make announcements. He had pointed out to two or three others that Audie never wears a tie. A bright sport shirt with the collar on the outside of his coat, that is Audie’s speed. Alright for the local diner perhaps, but taking part in public worship? He really did not know why they kept asking Brother Audie to participate.
“Oh No! Al Chrisper is going to lead singing this morning. If there is anyone that knows less about singing than Al, I’ve not met him.” Marcus did not like anything about Brother Chrisper’s leading. He sings too fast and too low; he does not use his hand to lead; and, of all things, he actually pats his foot. How anyone could sing under those conditions, he did not know. Besides, Chrisper does not even write the song numbers on the blackboard. Marcus had decided a long time ago, when “big Al” leads, “big Mark” does not sing.
James Smar led the opening prayer. Kind of pushy, for a fellow who has only been a member of the church a few months, and not a very good prayer either, Marcus thought. Probably be a good idea if they just used Brother Smar on Wednesday evenings.
The Lord’s supper was passed and Marcus partook of both the bread and the fruit of the vine. He felt a little guilty that at no time during that part of the service, did he actually even think of the Lord, let alone the great sacrifice. Elva NuKild’s baby was crying, and he had spent the entire time of the supper, considering how wonderful it would be, if babies were born with enough sense to behave during services.
Marcus was aware of the contribution. He had decided about two months ago, that it was time for the preacher to move on. It was not that he was doing too bad a job, but the preacher had been here three years . . . and well . . . the fellow was not that good a preacher. He had that irritating habit of licking his lips during a sermon. One time last year, he had licked his lips 32 times in the course of that long, one hour and thirteen minute sermon. Marcus took a small note-pad from his shirt pocket, added the jots, and noted that the preacher had licked his lips nine times today. Anyway, he had decided not to contribute so much as a thin dime to the church till they got rid of him.
Harris Tubid’s son, Ronnie, led the closing prayer. Marcus wondered if God would hear the prayer of a person whose dad would steal another man’s parking space?
It was raining as Marcus Alftwst left the building. But then, he thought, did not God say that the rain would fall on the just?
Truth Magazine XXII: 50, p. 802
December 21, 1978