“Backbone of the community” described how long the building stood with snow-white steeple stretching into the blue.
But the carpet needed replacing.
Martha took on the task. Over the next seven months she organized at least forty conversations about carpets. She gathered donations, outlawed red kool-aid, and requested suggestions about carpet installers.
One long-time church member suggested a life-long friend running a decades-old carpet business in the local community. Martha had raised enough funds to meet his quote. So she held another carpet meeting and tore apart the installer’s quote and guarantees. As Martha suggested attendees voted unanimously to gather three more quotes before making a decision.
An installer from two hours away gave the cheapest bid. He installed a new carpet and did a satisfactory job. Perhaps now the church could talk about something else?
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. ~John 11:5
Spring rains arrived. Some neighborhood children entered the building with muddy shoes. Their parents never attended, but the kids liked the donuts Miz Deborah served during Sunday School. She also taught Bible verses and songs and gave high fives and hugs.
But the mud! On the new carpet! Deborah heard the whispering words and saw the ludicrous looks. She quietly cleaned the carpet and made a game out of wiping muddy feet with the neighborhood children. They would do better, and carpet cleaning was a good time to pray.
Still her mother’s tongue burned within her, and during one service she stood before the congregation to speak of soles and souls.
Some hearts softened. Others became stone.
“Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, break out in a song!” ~Judges 5:12a
Elizabeth had finished raising her family. Her home started small years ago, but many hands helped build it larger as her family grew until they started growing right out of the nest. She never thought her home would seem too big.
So Elizabeth started hosting Sunday afternoon potlucks and invited everyone she met. Young people set up tables and chairs all over including a buffet table through the living room that filled with casseroles and crock pots every week. Someone donated trays so the mamas with hands full of children could carry multiple plates with a bit more ease. Teens watched for chances to help fill plates, move chairs, or sweep up messes. Elizabeth’s oldest son led a simple Bible study.
And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, ~Luke 1:41
Rachel’s family moved into the neighborhood. She had three young children and a husband that worked a lot. Elizabeth visited with cookies and bubbles. “You’re welcome to add to our feast,” Elizabeth invited, “but if getting your littles out the door takes all you’ve got to give please come anyway. Us older folks always bring extra.”
The first time Rachel came Elizabeth walked and talked with her through the buffet line. Rachel’s children clung to her legs. Even with all her hard-earned balancing skills Rachel watched in horror as a sauce-covered meatball rolled off a plate and onto Elizabeth’s living room carpet. Rachel threw a panicked and apologetic glance at Elizabeth before searching for a place to set the tray of four plates so she could clean up the mess.
Elizabeth laughed and used her cane to knock the meatball under the buffet table. “Someone will get it later, Child. Besides, carpets were not designed to last forever.”
Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem,” ~Ruth 4:11
Four women. Distinct personalities. Fully known and deeply loved.
~Read Psalm 139~
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” ~John 6:35