The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

MAY  2005

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.






A Matter Of Faith

"God's grace"

by Pastor Joel Lawler

He woke up a little melancholy.  He had hoped to be somewhere different when he opened his eyes.  He had lived a full life and was satisfied.  He had held the hand of his bride of 52 years as she was taken home.  He had been to too many funerals of friends and acquaintances.  He could not help but feel a little homesick.

He lowered himself out of bed into kneeling to say his morning prayers. "Father, you have chosen to give me another day.  Give me the strength to live worthy of it".

He put on a record of his favorite hymns and prepared to go off to church. 

His church didn't sing hymns.  They sang modern songs.  While he missed singing hymns, he loved to hear the young people sing with all their hearts to God.

"Can I get that for you?"

Before he could answer the young man had already retrieved his coat that had fallen to the floor.

Pastor Joel Lawler

"The coffee shop chairs seem to get smaller and smaller as they try to pack more people in here." The young man said.

"I thank you for your kindness." Said the old man.

"You are very welcome sir".

"That's quite a stack of books you have there."

"I am attempting to get Sunday's message together".

It was hard to believe he was a pastor.  He seemed so young.  He also didn't look the part.  His hair was long, his face unshaven and a tattoo was shyly making an appearance from beneath the sleeve of his shirt.

"What is your topic?"

"God's grace"

The young man's words cut deep.  "I guess the topic is something I need to hear more about" he thought to himself.

"Where is your church?"

"It's in the strip mall at the corner of 31 and 98".

He paid the church a visit and after five years, could not imagine going anywhere else.  He had come to love the young pastor.  His heart went out to the congregation.  They could have been his grandchildren.  He adopted them and cared for them as his own.

It was time to leave.

"Father, be with our pastor, our church leaders and those who take care of the little ones". The old man prayed.

He put on his suit coat and walked out the door.

From the back of the room, he could not help but notice her.  She was alone and seemed quite uncomfortable.  He hadn't seen her before and from her manner assumed that this was her first time at his church.

He felt like she might need a friend so he made his way over to where she was sitting.

"Would you mind if I sit next to you?"

She shook her head no and he sat down beside her.

He extended his hand and said "My name is Bob.  They call me Deacon Bob".
He had earned the nickname because he wore a suit to church every Sunday.  Most of the people who attended there wore street clothes.

As they stood to sing, he could not help but notice that she was cold. 

Bob removed his coat and gently placed it on her shoulders.

"They never can quite get the temperature right in here" he said with a smile.

Memories of his wife came to his mind.  Many times he had done the same for her whenever she was cold in church.  Another memory of when his daughter had once wore his suit coat.  She was small and it draped over her like a dress.

At the end of the service, she began to remove the coat.  "It's rather chilly outside.  Why don't you go ahead and keep it on.  Maybe you could bring it back next week?"

"I will" she said.