“Honey, I’ll pick up Sammy and then stop at the church to type up the bulletin.”
“OK, Dear,…Oh, Mr. Gray called. He said that he won’t be there next Sunday to teach the teen class.”
Pastor Slighter’s shoulders drooped as he mumbled, “What does it matter? There usually aren’t any teens either. Maybe I should go back to building houses; I’m certainly not building anything behind the pulpit.”
“Don’t say that, Dear. You don’t know whose life you touch by just being faithful.”
Pastor Slighter sighed and prayed all the way to the soccer field.
“Hi, Son, How was practice? I’ve got to stop at the church for a little while… OK?”
Sammy peered around the shadowy foyer, while his father unlocked the office door.
“May I walk around while you’re working?”
“Sure, don’t go far.”
Sammy’s footsteps echoed in the emptiness. He studied the missionary board, with red strings connecting faded prayer cards to their corresponding country. Sammy imagined a card with his name strung to China.
He squeaked open the sanctuary door. The afternoon sun sifted through the colored panes, painting the pews blue and red. The back row showed signs of use, with hymnals left in disarray. Sammy carefully replaced them in their rack. As he proceeded up the aisle, he straightened Grammy’s pillow and retrieved a dropped pencil. One row had a few cereal O’s scattered on its seat where the Thompson kids sat. He found a penny and stuck it in his pocket. As usual, the front pew was immaculate.
On the platform, Sammy peeked in the baptistery tank. Even his breath echoed in its depths. He sat for a minute on the throne-like chair and then stepped closer to the old, wooden pulpit. Stretching on his tiptoes, he could barely see the clock.
Dragging a chair from the choir loft, he climbed into his father’s place. He gasped as the darkening room magnified his imagination. Suddenly, he felt taller…older, preaching to the people of China.
“Please turn to Psalm 122…. “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord”(KJV)…. Now, let’s sing ’Jesus Loves the Little Children.”
Sammy frowned thoughtfully, then stepped off his platform. He plunked out a tune on the piano and sang for both the choir and congregation.
Back at the pulpit, he announced, “On Wednesday, I hope you will join us for prayer meeting. Next Sunday is our Thanksgiving Service, a time of testimonies and praises. Don’t forget to pray for the Maynards in Brazil, our missionaries this week. Now, will the ushers come take up the offering?”
Sammy stepped down to take a plate from the altar. He hummed as he passed it to each row. He fished the penny from his pocket. After a couple more tunes, he climbed again to the podium, only to scurry back to retrieve his own Bible from the second pew on the left.
Flipping through the pages, his eyes lit up with confidence at one picture. He gazed over his imaginary congregation, seeing eager faces waiting for him to speak.
“Noah was a man that loved God. There were lots and lots of people on the earth, but they were wicked. They had forgotten God and did bad things all the time. God was sad because He had to punish them.
“He told Noah, ‘I want you to build a big boat because it’s going to rain and rain and water will cover everything. I want all kinds of animals on the boat too.’
“Noah obeyed, even though he had never seen rain. The whole time that he and his boys were building the boat, he preached to the people, but no one listened to him.
“After Noah and his family got in the boat with the animals, God shut the door and it started to rain. It rained and rained for forty days, and the whole earth was covered with water. When it was all over, God painted a rainbow in the sky.
“Noah loved God and obeyed him, even when he was the only one. Let’s pray.”
Sammy’s squeezed his eyes and lifted his freckled cheeks. “Lord, help us to be like Noah. Amen.”
When Sammy opened his eyes, he saw his daddy in the back of the room. He smiled as he replaced the chair. Clasping his father’s hand, he said, “Daddy, when I’m grown up, I want to be just like you.”
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