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Resignation, Part 33

This is a part of a fictional series that I am currently writing and posting on Saturdays. For the past installments, check out my FICTION page.

The last few notes of At Calvary were wrapping up. David closed his hymnal and placed it into the rack on the back of the pew in front of him. His palms were just a little sweaty. He had no problem speaking in front of the church, but his body didn’t always react like it. He was suddenly a little thirsty. “No wonder some preachers liked to have a cup of water up their with them”, he thought. The choir director was looking in his direction, so he started making his way up to the stage as everyone was being seated. It was a little strange to him, each time he did it, to stand behind the pulpit to give a report.

“Good morning!!!”, he said into the microphone. He wasn’t sure how well he it was picking him up. The sound of the preacher had gotten a lot better since he first been in church. When he was young, no microphones were used at all. Everyone was silent and the preacher would get loud when he needed to. Then microphones were added. Next were lapel mic’s. Now the microphones looked like the headsets used to make phone calls. It sure allowed a lot of preachers to become pulpit prancers.

The congregation responded back with an obligatory “Good morning” of their own. He saw a few people seem interested in the fact that he was up there. The youth group sitting together seemed to have a good joke going on. More evidence of how times had changed. If parents hadn’t taken care of it when he was a youth, the pastor would have called them out in front of the church. Pastors didn’t seem to do that any longer. He wasn’t sure if that was good or bad. Preachers probably didn’t want to face the heat on that by the parents who thought their children did no wrong.

“I would like for the rest of the search team to come up here with me, please. Don’t try to hide. I see all of you sitting out there.” David wanted them to be there with him for moral support, but he also wanted the church to know that they were unified in this. He didn’t want there to be any misunderstanding on where the search committee stood with each other.

Tom was the first one out of the pew headed up. Teresa wasn’t too far behind. Bill stood up and walked up without looking at anyone. It seemed like some of his old crew were giving him the cold shoulder. He wondered what trouble his change of heart of late was causing him. He certainly didn’t need any sort of added stress in his life at the moment. Fred was last up to the stage, which wasn’t unexpected. David had watched him slow down physically quite a bit over the last few years. He was still in good health, but he was well past retirement age and wasn’t moving quite as fast as he used to.

“Folks, this is your pastor search team.” David paused slightly as he said this. “We are working hard at the job you selected us to do. We are going to communicate with you everything that we can, when we can. The first item on the docket for us was to find an interim pastor. Next Sunday, Dr. Dale Adkins will be preaching. He is our candidate for interim pastor. We will have a lunch afterwards for him and his family. Following that, there will be a brief Q&A for anyone that has any questions for him. The following Sunday, we will vote on whether to accept him as interim. If that goes in favor of him, then our team’s focus will shift to finding our permanent pastor.”

David could see a few folks nodding. Some husbands were leaning over and talking to their wives. There were a few that sat there as stoic as possible. He wondered if that was what pastors saw every Sunday as they stood there preaching the gospel. He glanced over to the other members of the team.

“Do any of you guys have anything to say or add for the congregation?”

“I do, David.” Bill Johnson start moving toward where David stood. David cringed, more out of habit than necessity. He knew that Bill wanted to stand before the church and say some things, so he wasn’t shocked at this. It needed to be done and Bill believed that it would best be in conjunction with the team.

“Folks, I’m really not sure why you voted me on this team. I believe it was because I had a certain segment of the church who were in favor of me and the direction I thought the church should go. We banded together and helped run Donald off to an early retirement a few months ago. I led the charge and was the instigator of that movement. I know you all know this, but no one has really called me out on this. I sinned against the Lord and I sinned against this body of believers. I confess that to you and I apologize.”

The murmuring was louder than it had been earlier at that. David could see the folks Bill was talking about squirming in their seats. They didn’t look happy and had obviously been caught off guard by Bill’s comments.

“Some of you may be wondering what has changed for me to say this. Well, all I can say is that the Lord has gotten a hold of me. It just took me getting a brain tumor for Him to do that. I don’t have long to live. This thing is inoperable. Sure, we’ll do everything we can to fight it, but I don’t hold a lot of hope that the doctors can do anything. There’s only one Physician who can do anything about it.”

That got people’s attention. The room quieted down, even among those that had stood with Bill to oppose the previous pastor. David could see more than one person dabbing their eyes at the news. He couldn’t help but admire the man who just a few weeks ago had caused him more trouble than he cared to face. He was amazed at the transformation that Bill had gone through. He just wished it hadn’t taken getting a brain tumor for him to get to this point.

“Last thing and I’ll shut up. I want all of you to stand behind this team. They’re good people. They love the Lord. They’re seeking His will in this search. You selected them because you thought they could find the right people. Trust them on this and future decisions.”

Bill walked back to his spot. David glanced around at the audience. With a look to his right, he turned it back over to the choir director.

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