How will Joe handle the first time going to church with Sarah? Will the people at church accept him and make him feel comfortable?
Joe jumped out of bed realizing it was already 9:00. Wow, did I sleep last night. The evening’s events and talks began to mentally resurface as he was brewing a fresh cup of Kona coffee. The toast popped up from the toaster and grabbing the raspberry jam from the fridge Joe spread some on the toast and carried them along with his coffee over to the small table next to his favorite chair and sat down. What a night. I can’t believe I told everyone about how I felt about God. And Tom, I still can’t believe he just sat there and said nothing. I expected him to needle me and give me a hard time. And then everyone else that joined in. Even Carol and Sarah met each other and exchanged phone numbers. Oh that might not be all that good for me as Joe’s mind began to recall some of the mischief he and Carol had gotten into when they were dating. Joe told himself to stop worrying about the past as he convinced himself that Carol had made a good friend in Sarah and that was a good thing.
Joe looked over at the clock and realized time was getting away from him again and quickly headed for the shower. After a quick shower he picked out some of his better clothes to wear, got dressed and before long he was at Sarah’s house and they were driving to Sunday morning church together for the first time. Walking in Pastor Dan spotted them and walked over to say hi. Sarah, I see you brought Joe with you. Hi Pastor Dan, it’s nice to see you again, replied Joe. How’s everything been going Joe? Things have been getting better and I think you might be seeing a little more of me. I look forward to it, replied Pastor Dan, but please just call me Dan. You guys going to come tonight when Dr. Bob is here? Wouldn’t miss it, replied Joe with a level of enthusiasm that left no doubt in the Pastor Dan mind that something had changed in Joe. You know I ran into Dr. Bob at the Pub a couple weeks ago and we had a great conversation. I look forward to talking to him again. Well, we better go find a seat. We will see you tonight, right. Pastor Dan smiled saying I wouldn’t miss it. Joe and Sarah made their way towards the middle of the church when Sarah saw her parents. You want to sit with mom and dad. Sounds good to me Joe replied as they made their way over to say hi. You guys have a good time last night? Oh mom, you don’t know the half of it Sarah responded with such enthusiasm it took her mother by surprise. Really, what happened that is so great, quizzed her mom. Well it’s a bit of a long story. We can tell you more at lunch if we are still invited. Of course you are and dad made reservation at that new restaurant you guys went to a few weeks ago. Why don’t we just plan to meet you guys there after church? Sounds great replied Sarah as she look at Joe with a smile that left no question in her mom’s mind that Sarah was falling for Joe.
Joe sat back waiting for the service to begin when he began to recall the first time he had walked in the doors of this church and a chill came over him. Oh come on Joe, you’re happy to be here and you’re with Sarah. But I felt like no one wanted me here before. Is it because I have better clothes on or maybe because I showered before I came that I feel welcomed? Is it because I’m with Sarah? But that shouldn’t be that way. It shouldn’t matter. Maybe it is just my attitude that has changed. Maybe it was all in my mind that I wasn’t welcomed. After all, Sarah told me she came looking for me but I was already gone. Maybe I didn’t give these people a chance and look how nice Sarah’s mom and dad are. I know I wasn’t about to give God a chance at that time but is that the difference? They do have some good music, Joe thought to himself as he smiled at Sarah and took hold of her hand giving it a small squeeze. Wow, my life has really changed began surging through his mind.
Church was just getting started when Joe felt someone behind him tapping on his shoulder. Turning he could see Ann and then he spotted Tom sitting on the other side of her. Joe poked Sarah in the arm and as she turned to see what Joe wanted she saw Ann and Tom sitting right behind them. Looking a little closer she also could see that most everybody that was part of the discussion at the bonfire was sitting there also. She leaned over and whispered into Joe ear; did you see what I see? You mean Tom and Ann, replied Joe? No – I mean everyone from last night. Joe turned his head taking a quick look and couldn’t quite believe his eyes. Then he spotted Carol sitting with Paul just behind the rest of the gang. Joe raised his hand just a little, smiled and gave a small wave at everyone. He turned back around, took hold of Sarah’s hand again, took a big breath of air and just smiled a big grin.
After a couple of songs and a few announcements were made, Pastor Dan stood up and was just about ready to start his message but stopped long enough to say; I see we have some visitors with us today and I want to welcome each of you. Joe smiled to himself as the rest of the gang realized Pastor Dan was speaking to all of them. Pastor Dan began speaking on his topic for the day which fit right in with the topic that Dr. Bob would be covering that evening. It wasn’t so much about evolution and creation as it was about how we need to open our minds and explore topic’s like evolution and creation even if it makes us feel a little uncomfortable. He spoke about how we are all gifted with a mind to think with and how we many times don’t even realize how we allow our mind to be fed with information. How we get stuck in a way of thinking because someone else tell you how you should think. He conclude the service by adding that you should always feel free to question and even challenge things that I speaks about. That is why God gave us the brain and mind to think with. All of Joe and Sarah’s friends really caught hold of the last statement. Pastor Dan sat down, the final words of the closing song was completed, and church was over. Ann and Tom and the rest of the group joined together in the back of the church by the door and was just having small talk when Sarah broke the ice about everyone coming to church. Looking across the group but more directly at Carol, she said it is really nice to see everyone this morning. I really had a great time last night with you guys. Thanks for making me feel so welcome. Carol quickly spoke up saying; it was really nice to meet you also but that had to be one of the more interesting parties I’ve been to in a long time. Everyone smiled and acknowledged that Carol was right. Several others spoke up saying it was a lot of fun and a couple added that they really enjoyed how open everyone was. Joe turned and looked at Tom saying; Hey man, I am really glad you came. Well – you are my best friend and I decided I better check this out if I was going to keep our long standing friendship together. Somebody’s got to keep you straight. But really you should thank Ann just a little. She suggested it. We sat around talking about everything you guy’s told us last night after you guys left and… well let’s just say that Sarah made a lot of good points but the jury is still out on you, Tom said as he started to laugh and others joined in. We all know you can be a bit crazy at times. Ha, ha Tom, was Joe’s reply. So I guess I really do want to know a lot more about what you have learned about evolution and creation and the possibility that God created everything, Tom added after the groups laughter slowed down. Several other joined in saying; we all do. Joe quickly replied by saying; well if you really want to learn more about evolution and creation maybe you guys should come back tonight at 7:00. Sarah and I will be here and they have a guest speaker, Dr. Bob, who I have met more than once and is a great one to ask your questions too and he’s really easy to talk too. I think I will come, Tom quickly added. You going to come with me Ann? I sure am. I got to keep tabs on you buddy. Before long everyone had committed to be there but Carol who spoke up saying I have to work tonight at the Pub. Maybe you could get someone to fill in for you, Paul quickly added. It would be great if you could come. I could pick you and we could come together. I’ll try and give you a call to let you know either way.
The group broke up and Joe and Sarah made their way to the restaurant where her mom and dad were waiting. Let’s order. I’m starving commented Sarah’s dad. They ordered up and before long their meal had arrived. Sarah’s dad looked at Sarah and said; for some reason I feel like we should say grace before our meal today. I think we really should dad, Sarah quickly added. We have so much to be thankful for. I second that Joe chimed in. Sarah’s dad said a short prayer thanking God for their food and added; thanks for Joe and Sarah’s and their special friendship.
Ok, let’s eat. I’m hungry added Sarah’s dad. Ok dad, we get it. You are a little on the hungry side, added Sarah as she smirked at her dad and started to laugh. About halfway through the meal Sarah’s mom spoke up; so what happened last night anyway and who were all those friends that showed up today at church? Oh mom, you aren’t going to believe it. Come on, out with it. I can’t stand this suspense any longer, Sarah’s mom added. Sarah went on to tell the story about the fire and the songs and dancing and how everyone was have a good time. She continued telling her parents about how good Joe was playing the guitar and singing and how she and Ann started singing together like they did while they were in school. Then the topic about God and evolution and creation came up just because Joe told them he need to get me home so we could make it to church this morning. That’s when the discussion got started and before we knew it they all wanted to know more about God and I read them my cheat sheet from my purse and… well let just say several others spoke up about their belief in God. Joe and I finally said we had to go and got up and left as they sat quietly around the last of the fire. We had no idea they would show up at church this morning and now most of them are coming tonight to hear Dr. Bob. Can you believe it? Yes Sarah I can, replied Sarah’s mom. Yes I can. It is amazing how people react when they are just told the truth.
Before long they were done and when Carl went to pay the tab he found that it had already been paid for. The waitress told him the young man at his table had slipped her his credit card and all was taken care of. Carl walked back to the table and looked at June and said; I guess we are special people. Joe bought us lunch when my back was turned. You know Carl you are not a quick as you used to be added June as she grinned a slight smirk and then thanked Joe for lunch. Well you are both special people to me, Joe quickly added. You have made me feel welcome from the first time I met you. You have fed me and most of all you are just really nice. So thank you and oh yes I kind of like your daughter Sarah too if that’s alright. Sarah blushed as she looked at her dad and mom and smiled. Well we like her too added Carl with a chuckle. And I am glad you do, added Sarah. Joe, you are welcome to come and join us anytime. Especially if you are going to pick up the check, Carl added as June poked him in the ribs. Everyone laughed as they made their way to the exit.
Joe and Sarah walked out and just as they got in the car Sarah leaned over and gave Joe a kiss and a hug. You make me so happy Joe. Well you make me very happy too, replied Joe. You are very special Sarah and I want to continue our relationship and make it work. I love you and someday… well let’s just say if we continue and things work out maybe someday we can be like your parents. Still in love with each other! Sarah heard something that scared her a little but at the same time brought about a feeling she knew she wanted to experience with Joe. She looked over at Joe and smiled as she leaned over and gave him another kiss. Joe didn’t need to hear any words. The kiss said it all.
“To be continued”
Where is the relationship between Joe and Sarah headed? How will the gang react to Dr. Bob? Will the gang fall apart after the special meeting on evolution and creation because of the difference of opinions?