Sweet Hour of Prayer

imageMaggie married Melvin shortly after her first husband died.  Maybe she should’ve waited longer, but she was exhausted after her long struggle to support Ray through his illness and then Little Ray after he died, so she was glad to have Melvin’s companionship and support, even though he was odd from the start.  Things went well enough for several years, but by the time Melvin reached his late forties, he’d developed religious delusions that made him impossible to live with.

Maggie left.  Mellvin became a minister of sorts, even pastoring a small fundamentalist Christian Church.  Before long his flock had enough of his delusions, abandoning him and the church.  One Sunday, Little Ray and his wife, after a visit to Maggie made a point to stop by to visit his step-father Melvin’s church for Sunday service.  A few minutes late, they waited till Melvin finished his prayer and announced hymn page thirty-seven before entering.  They crept in to find him conducting services in an empty church, just as though it was filed with worshippers.  He passed the offering plate after putting in his own donation.  After a fiery sermon and altar call, the service concluded with a prayer. The three went to lunch after church, making no mention of the strange, solitary service.

40 thoughts on “Sweet Hour of Prayer

  1. This struck me as so sad. Not Melvin’s religious delusions, but the fact that none of the three mentioned his unattended service. At first I laughed, but then I felt sad for all three of them.

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    • The kind do we’re worried. Melvin was probably talking to God. He called once and wanted to talk to my five-yea-old son about salvation. My husband told him we were taking care of it.

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    • I could not deal with fanaticism. My dad used church against his girls a lot. Women tripped good men up. That meant no shorts, swimsuits, dancing. There would be no trouble if it weren’t for trashy women.

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      • I loved my church in Alabama but we had one guy who was always criticizing the young girls in short skirts or varied dress choices as though he was a saint. Turns out he had an issue. No, my ex used the Bible like a weapon and never to up build. When I got out of the marriage, I was a mess. I didn’t pick up a Bible for years and I used to love reading it and now I only pretty much open it up at church when I go. Sad.

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  2. Linda, I hope, when your book is finished, you will include a family tree so that we can see how all these people link together, and keep them all straight.

    What I like about this story, besides that it’s a good story (and another great example, like so many of yours, of how truth is stranger than fiction) is that I like thinking about all those different people of different faiths thinking or claiming that theirs is the one true faith, and then imagining all of them discovering that it turns out that Mack’s faith is revealed to be the ACTUAL one true faith.
    😀

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