When He Heard It

Today’s post is written by a great friend Ross Gale. He is an aspiring writer and currently attends Portland State University. He plans to go onto graduate school for writing and then be a fiction author. When I asked him why not non fiction he said, “because you either have to write about history or be an expert in something and I’m not an expert at anything.” Ross and I have been great friends since 8th grade. I know you will enjoy what he has written because he is a phenomenal writer.

When He Heard It

It’s Sunday morning and the sun is up early and the sky is clear and blue. Everyone walks because the church is close and they see other’s headed the same direction and they wave and shout hello and everyone is smiling, excited to see each other, to be together.

The front door of the church is bustling with gray-haired women in big floppy hats, little girls spinning circles in summer dresses, the greeters sweating in their black suits, their ironed pants. The congregation sings hymns with gusto and stands for the prayer before the sermon.

And then they settle down and take their seats and the pastor makes his slow procession to the front, his steps click clacking in their echo. He sets his Bible down on the podium and sips a glass of water and clears his throat and it’s the moment before he speaks where everyone in the room is listening. Everyone is watching. This is it.

But the moment passes to another and still the pastor has not spoken a word. He stares carefully at his Bible, at his feet, into the congregation. But his mouth does not open. The crowd begins to stir, shuffling in their seats, some cough and clear their throats. Children laugh, couples look at each other, old women fold their programs, their husbands roll them in their hands.

The pastor doesn’t speak. He scans the members, looks them each in the eye. Someone stands and walks out. Another says, C’mon now. Others echo with grunts. A choir member starts to hum a hymn. But the pastor doesn’t speak. A man begins to cry in the front pew. Is that the elder? Are those real tears? And then another, more sobbing, hands are in the air, more, ten, twelve. Tears and there is laughter too. Others stand swaying to an unheard tune. And the pastor stands silently.

“The preacher is not brave enough to be literally silent for long because we are none of us very good at silence. It says too much.” Frederick Buechner

“When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle…” 1 Kings 19:13