CHURCH AIN’T A SHOWPLACE FOR SAINTS, COMING FRIDAY, JUNE 5!
#PREORDER #99CENTS UNTIL RELEASE DATE
Anise took one final glance in the mirror before walking outside and getting in her five year old car. She worked as a legal secretary and lived in a decent apartment complex. Her Camry was still in good shape but she felt that was all a miracle. After all the alcohol she had drunk and men she had been with, there should have been booze and sperm oozing from her pores. The funny thing was, if she had felt like laughing at herself, she looked pretty good.
Her face was a bit puffy. She wore a size twelve and was in great shape and pretty toned. Her hair was cut short and her nutmeg colored skin was clear. The truth was, aside from the drinking and men, she was pretty healthy. She walked most evenings and had a bike she rode around the neighborhood but she loved alcohol. After dinner, she mostly drank until she went to bed and though the frequency of the men had slowed down, way down, she still loved that as well. She shook those thoughts from her head as she pulled into traffic. She had thought about going back to church since moving back to Jacksonville almost two years earlier but today would be her first day.
Stidwell Baptist had grown over the years. She heard they had a young pastor, Delbert Owa, from Africa, and he was bringing the Word. People were joining in droves for his preaching and teaching style. He appeared to be in his mid-thirties and his beautiful wife, Krista, was a couple of years younger. Rumor had it, they met in seminary school and got married and he decided to remain in America. They had a seven-year-old daughter.
Chantelle was still ushering and noticed Anise immediately when she walked in. It had been years and for some reason it bothered her how well Anise looked. She had always hated girls like Anise who seemed to grow up like weeds with no parameters. Anise had grown up in the church as well, but unlike Chantelle, she moved out at eighteen on her own and stopped going.
Feeling someone’s eyes on her, Anise looked up and into the face of Chantelle. It was clearly her but her forehead was lined. She was thin and hard looking. Nodding at her, Anise took a seat near the middle aisle. Once she was seated, the singers came out and started singing, Break Every Chain. Anise soon forgot about Chantelle.
After the reading of the Scriptures and a couple of songs, Pastor Owa stood and told them they would read and hear a word from God on Luke 15:11-30, The Parable of the Lost Son. Anise did not have to open her Bible; she was able to recite it from memory.
After she was done reading, she plopped down in her seat. She didn’t have any family to return to and no one had given her any kind of inheritance. She understood and had lived her prodigal daughter experience.
For forty-five minutes, the pastor spoke and taught directly from the message and his words penetrated Anise like tiny arrows. At the end of the sermon when the doors of the church were opened, Anise was tempted to rejoin but her feet would not move.
On the way out, Chantelle stopped her. For the first time in fifteen years they were face to face.
“Hello, Anise, it has been years. What brought you home?”
“I drove in my car. One can always come home, Chantelle.” Anise walked down the steps and into the sun. It felt good on her face.