The Old Man and the Church (2012)

Snowflakes fell from earth to heaven at a pace that could rival a snail’s. Yet, the old man walked on, scarcely noticing the white blanket all around him.

Oblivious to the evening chill, he stopped on the step of the grand old church he had once loved. Once the talk of the town, it had run down to nothing as older generations died and left its care to their wayward children.

A tear flowed down the aged cheek as he touched the crumbling brickwork and eyed the broken panes. Slowly, he climbed the steps to the entrance and stepped inside, fearing what he might see, but unable to leave without knowing.

The sight that greeted the tired, dimming eyes was nearly unbearable. Peeling paint and cracked plaster, retouched by graffiti and colored chalk. On the floor there lay broken benches, and dust formed a coat over the old, silent organ.

As the old man strode down the center aisle, his mind traveled 40 years back in time–to a day when the pastor stood tall at the altar and solemnly said, “you may kiss the bride.”

He glanced behind the pulpit at the large baptistry, its fancy borders rusted; its meaning lost in obscurity. He remembered a day two-score and five years before, when in the name of Father, Son and Spirit he gave his life to the Lord.

A wrinkled hand reached down to take an object from the floor. Small and black, he knew he must have seen it once before. Indeed, it was the Bible that the pastor always loved–thrown aside by his careless son who had no care for God above.

Tucking the tiny book between his heart and winter coat, the old man took one last look at the church of his childhood, then stepped slowly out the door. The winter winds blew harder now, and the moon gave only the dimmest light–but the old man was cheered and comforted that he had found intact the LIGHT.