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.  Melvin 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.

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