Monday, December 6, 2010
Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday
Today's words: demise, effort, revival
* * *
“Today’s offerings are very generous.”
Brother Andrew sat at the head of the long mahogany table, his elbows resting on the arms of the vintage chair, fingers steepled, resting against his lips. His blue eyes travelled along the long line of wicker baskets that brimmed with folded bills. It humbled him to witness the endless faith of his congregation.
“Brother Phillip.” Andrew addressed the man at the opposite end of the table.
“See that the day care on Miller Street receives the funding they need to upgrade their playground.” Phillip scribbled notes in his book.
“Brother Marcus,” Andrew continued.
“Despite their efforts, it seems that Riverton Public School has failed to raise the necessary funds to update their gymnasium.” A sad murmur rippled through the group of men around the table.
Brother Andrew raised his hands bringing immediate silence. “See that they are looked after, won’t you?”
Brother Marcus nodded.
“Are there other matters to address?” Brother Andrew scanned the faces around the table. His gaze held nothing but care, an earnest desire to open his arms to the community he served.
“Sir?” A tentative voice spoke up.
He smiled. “Yes, Brother Walter?” Andrew’s deep, melodic voice put Walter at ease.
“The hospital, sir, it…”
Andrew raised his hand and Walter stopped, certain he had misspoke.
“My apologies, Brother Walter.” It was clear that Andrew was contrite, indeed remorseful. “I forgot that we agreed at our last meeting to assist with the expansion of the neo-natal wing.” Relieved, Brother Walter let out the breath he held.
“In fact,” Andrew continued, “with your financial background, perhaps it would be prudent for you to supervise this project.” Andrew stared up at the ceiling, as though contemplating this decision. “Yes. Yes, I think that would suit everyone.” He turned to Walter and smiled. “I have complete faith in you, Brother Walter.”
Flushed with pride, Walter grinned as the other Collectors offered their congratulations.
“Well then,” said Brother Andrew, tapping his hands on the table. “I think that brings our meeting to an end.”
In unison, every head around the table bowed, hands clasped in prayer.
“We offer our thanks, Lord,” said Andrew, his deep voice filling the room, soothing the loyal men who prayed with him. “We do only Your bidding, carry out the work You ask us to do. We serve in Your name.”
“In Your name,” echoed the voices around the table.
Chairs scraped the floor and voices boomed. As was the custom at the end of Sunday meetings, formalities were dropped and the banter was casual. There was discussion on lawn maintenance and golf tips. And, always, there was praise for Brother Andrew and the Tabernacle’s movement.
“Ask Sister Rebecca to come in,” Andrew called out, as the Collectors filed out of the room. “I need to dictate a letter to the Board of Directors and advise them of our prosperity.” The last man, a thin, aged soul, bowed his acknowledgement as he closed the door behind him.
Brother Andrew closed his eyes and smiled. The higher powers would be pleased that The Saviour’s Revival Tabernacle was doing so well. The community it supported flourished under his spiritual guidance. Perhaps it was time to pass the leadership to another—Brother Phillip would be a good choice—and move on to lead another flock.
Sister Rebecca entered the chamber. She wore the traditional blue robe of women in the congregation, her long hair pulled back in a demure knot. She sat at his right, her note pad balanced on her lap, pen poised for dictation.
“I’m ready, sir.” Sister Rebecca let the robe fall off her shoulders to expose the delicate chemise beneath.
As he bent his head to suckle on the pink nub straining beneath the thin silk, Brother Andrew dismissed the fleeting thought that this might mean the end of his church; not to mention the demise of his soul.