Each Wednesday, I will be publishing a fictional post, and for the foreseeable future, we will be learning more of her story.
If you missed any of the previous posts of my serial, Angel on Assignment: The Book of Morgan, click here and be taken to a landing page that has all 31 posts of the story in order.
THE BOOK OF MORGAN
PART II – More about Morgan
Chapter 1 – What’s next?
The next day after all the secrets were told, Sunday dawned fresh and new.
As a grown woman, I knew I could now make my own decisions; but I hoped Mom would approve.
I wanted my first action as a forgiven, reconciled and restored daughter to be attendance at Sunday morning church. Although I had been allowed to attend some youth meetings during my late teens, I had never once gone on a Sunday morning to Sister Clara’s church.
At the breakfast table, I casually remarked I’d like to attend. Mom looked down at her cup of coffee for awhile, and then looked up at me with her eyes brimming with tears.
“I think it would mean a lot to Sister Clara if we both attended,” she said softly, “except I don’t own any clothes worthy of going to church.”
“Oh, Mom,” I went over to her and hugged her, “People don’t dress as formally for church as in Grandma Rose’s day. Let me help you go through your closet and find something.”
In about half an hour’s time we were ready to go. We both wore black dress slacks and jewel-toned tops. I think we looked pretty spiffy, but more importantly, we both were wearing smiles in each other’s presence.
As we approached the double doors of the church, Mom whispered nervously, “Hope the roof doesn’t fall in.”
“Mom! That’s not going to happen! You’ll see, people will be happy to see us.”
Sure enough, when we stepped into the foyer, the first person we saw was Sister Clara holding court with all her church lady friends. As soon as she saw us, happy tears sprung to her eyes as she held out her arms for a hug.
“Sharon! Morgan! I’m so happy to see you here today! You must come sit with me,” she invited.
As we got settled in our places she mentioned her son Bro. John Cook, was visiting today and would be the special speaker.
“I’m so proud of him,” she said, “even though he used to be a big-shot CEO at Clark and Clark Innovations back in Portland, he turned out okay because he listened to the Lord and went into the ministry.”
“Oh!” I exclaimed, “I’ve heard of John Cook in Portland. I didn’t know he was your son!”
Sister Clara smiled, “Well, there are a lot of Cooks in the world. What were the chances you’d end up in the same part of the country as my son?”
When Bro. John took the pulpit, I watched him with interest. He had kind eyes, but I didn’t think he looked much like Sister Clara.
As if she were a mind-reader, Clara leaned over and whispered to me, “John gets his good looks from his daddy! But he got his way with people from me!”
“Ssh,” whispered Mom, “I’m trying to listen!”
Clara and I settled back in our pew with grins on our faces and started listening to Bro. John.
Interestingly, his sermon was on forgiveness. He started with the timeless story of Peter asking Jesus how many times a person was expected to forgive someone.
I glanced over at Mom, and her gaze was riveted on Bro. John as he read the following scripture:
Matthew 18:21-22 New King James Version (NKJV)
21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Bro. John explained, “In Peter’s day, rabbis taught you should forgive a person at least three times. Peter thought he was going above and beyond to suggest forgiving a brother seven times!”
“Imagine how the listening crowd took the news Jesus expected them to forgive 490 times, which is another way of saying, “Forgive without limit’. Who would keep track of 490 times and say on the 491st offence, ‘Nope, sorry, can’t do it.’”
“In fact, the Love Chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, actually tells us ‘love bears no record.’ So, it would be wrong to even keep track of those 490 offences.”
“Does forgiving mean the person who hurt me gets away with it? Not at all. The law of sowing and reaping assures us people pay consequences for their sins. The ‘wages of sin is death,’ the bible tells us. So, unless a person repents, they will pay the ultimate price for their sin.”
“Forgiveness is for YOU. It frees the load, the burden, you have been carrying around, and it says to God, ‘I trust You, Father, to take care of it for me.”
I glanced over at Mom and was startled to see a trickle of tears running down her face.
Pastor John went on, “Here’s another reason forgiveness is for you.” He went on to finish Matthew 18 and told the parable of the servant who was forgiven a great debt by the King; but later could not forgive a fellow servant who only owed him a small debt.
“In essence the message of this story is this: How can we, who have been forgiven so much by the Lord, justify not forgiving someone else?”
Mom sniffled loudly and Sister Clara handed her a handkerchief.
When it came time for the altar call, I was a little surprised to see Clara whisper something to Mom and then they both made their way to the front and had a long conversation with the Bro. John and the Pastor.
Then the Pastor said, “We’re thankful our sister has come to lay some burdens down at the feet of Jesus.” He then prayed a prayer of dismissal and everyone stood to their feet and milled around shaking hands and greeting one another.
Everyone was so nice and friendly to me and I renewed acquaintances with a few youth who were now adults worshiping still at our childhood church.
Not once did anyone mention our family secrets or anything associated with the past!
I met up with Mom and Sister Clara at the door. Clara invited us to lunch with her and her son and his family but we declined feeling she should spend time with him.
“We’ll get together next time, I promise,” Mom said as we filed out the door and headed to the car.
“I kind of have a headache after all that crying, anyway,” Mom explained.
“I agree we should give Sister Clara all the uninterrupted time she can spend with her son.”
“Besides, we got lots to talk about. I’ve been gone 9 years, and I also need more of Herb’s meatloaf.” I declared.
“What? You just had that a couple days ago!”
“I know, but it is soooo good!”