Chapter 1: Beginning!
A simple question. “Why did I not think of it first?” thought Scott. He could laugh all day thinking about how Rev. Jerrod got so baffled at Mary-Anne’s question. It was a regular Bible Study. Pastor Jerrod suggested that they would begin with Genesis. A good idea for the few faithful who showed up braving the cold. It was particularly cold that year in Crainville.
Unlike all other Bible studies before this one, Rve. Jerrod invited everyone to the choir room. It was a priviledged room in the whole church. Only choir members were allowed until the Reverend convinced the choir president that allowing this nacient young adult Bible study group may encourage some young ones to join the choir two months ago.
To be frank, it was the only room with comfortable chairs that would not nick stockings and pants. That seats had cushions were simply a bonus feature. It was the only room where heat was on throughout the winter and cool air during summer months–just to keep that old piano from going out of tune. Of course, the piano was donated by Mrs. Coldwell, the president of the choir, in memory of her mother Mrs. Bloomworth. When Mrs. Coldwell declared that the temperature had to be kept at 74 degrees fahrenheit to maintain the tune in her retiring and scratch soprano voice, no one had enough courage to object.
Scott liked the choir room. He could not hold a note, but he loved being in the room. It made him feel like he could be one of the talented few who were priviledged to wear those distinguished oxford red gowns with white hoods. Sitting there imagining that he could sound like Luciano Pavarotti as one of the gowns satisfied him. It pleased him greatly every time he dreamt that he would laugh Luciano’s laugh in the choir loft robed and sitting surrounded by all those talented choir members. Unfortunately he was never invited to join the choir. For him, entering the choir room made him feel like being one of these select few.
It was a delightful moment for him. Rev. Jerrod had been his main rival ever since arriving as this vibrant community’s new pastor three months ago. It was priceless to see the well loved young buck squirm at the innocent question asked by an innocent young woman who was without doubt deeply infatuated with the new arrival. Scott was getting annoyed at all those old women of the church who were gushing how handsome their new reverend was. Indeed he knew that the only reason the church attendance nearly doubled was due not to the good looks of the new minister but to the curious neighbours who came out to verify the opinions of their friends.
As the hot new pastor hesitated and mulled the question over, Scott decided to rescue him by showing his immesne knowledge and mature faith. He spoke softly as if he was not to interrupt the pastor’s thoughts in the most wisely voice he could muster, “Well, Mary-Anne, God’s story ended with Jesus’ resurrection. So in order to have the ending, we have to have the beginning. In our faith, we call “Genesis” the beginning.” He felt mighty proud. Without realizing he leaned back as if he had swallowed the best tenderloin beef he had ever tasted. He enjoyed the nodding heads of most elderly women who always came out dutifully to anything that happened at their church.
Unable to quickly retort, the Reverend agreed. Mr. Jerrod knew that faster he got out of this trouble faster he could get on with his agenda of teaching the Genesis. He did spend a lot of time preparing seeing that this was the first time he would exhibit his knowledge. He was totally unaware that his face was turned redder than any summer rose being very conscious of the presence of Mary-Anne who appeared just a year or two younger than he. So he began.
Soon most eyes began to droop and steady sounds of breathing became as heavy as the monotonous nasal sounds of Mr. Jerrod’s lecture filled the room. As if on cue heads were bobbing just at the right moment as both the inflection of Mr. Jerrod’s voice and the sounds of steady breathing became one. Even Scott’s minds were drifting into that nether lands of not quite sleep and not quite awaken stupor. Only the eyes of Mary-Anne shined bright. The Rev. Jerrod’s eyes, on the other hand, were glued to the page lest he might read a wrong word that might awaken the faith of these faithful from the rhythmic chorus of early evening snooze.
All too soon for Mary-Anne, finally the Rev. Mr. Jerrod finished reading and lifted his gaze heavenward in thanksgiving. Indeed he was thankful for getting through the first most exciting Bible Study he had ever presented in front of such stalwarts of faith. At that precise moment, as if someone splashed everyone with cold water at once, all those heavy breathers stopped their choral responses and began fidgeting to sit up straight. Even Scott uttered murmured meek sounds of approval to signal that he was paying attention. Mr. Jerrod looked at everyone with the pride of the father announcing the very first born with his eyes confident of an approval that was surely due to him for his most significant effort to date in his first charge.
Upon meeting her pastor’s gaze of pride and need of approval Mrs. Coldwell felt the rush of responsibility to respond positively. Forgetting that only reason she was present at this Bible Study was to make sure that no one would dirty up the choir room, like a proud mother hen, she began to applaud. Others soon followed. Only Scott sat disapprovingly refusing to join in this show of adulation. It displeased him since applauding was not what Christians were encouraged to do; only God deserved his applause. As if she heard what Scott was thinking, Mrs. Coldwell stole a cold look at Scott and immediately stopped applauding. But others kept on applauding as if to cover their sin of having slept through the Bible Study. Later they would all talk about how wonderful the Bible Study was to others enthusiastically inviting others to come out and join them in this new adventure.