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Rated: E · Short Story · Religious · #2281278
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The church had beautiful stained-glass windows and the steeple was so tall it seemed to touch the clouds. The people that came were rich and important citizens of the town. The ladies wore fur coats and diamond rings and always stuck their noses up as they passed by. The men were always talking business and paid not never mind to the ladies. They wore thousand-dollar suits and carried gold watches. The ladies would sit in their pews and gossip about the whole town. They never smiled and never gave of themselves to anything or anyone.

The old shack had broken windows and the chimney was almost gone. The smoke that came from it barely reached the rooftop. The old man that lived there was poor and unimportant. He wore a tattered and faded shirt and his pants had holes and he wore a small cross around his neck. He would always sit on the porch on Sunday morning to listen to the singing that came from the beautiful church next door. He said good morning to the ladies that passed by in their fancy dresses, but not a one said anything back. They just bowed their heads and whispered. The men just looked at their gold watches and hurried along. The singing filled the old man's heart with joy, and he smiled and gave of himself to anything, and any the town meeting was filled with the rich and important citizens of the town. They met behind closed doors and decided the fate of the poor and unimportant. They carried out plans to rid the town of such people who did not belong in their town. They talked of things that were only important to them and never considered the feelings and thoughts of others. They did not care for anyone but themselves.

The letter from the mayor came on Monday to the old house that sat next to the beautiful church. He opened it and read that the citizens of the town had decided that his house should be torn down because it was an eyesore to everyone. He had one month to vacate his home. The old man just sat there and stared in disbelief at the words he had read. He never said a word as he got up from his chair and walked inside. He went to the closet and got his best suit out and put its own. He brushed his hair in front of the old, cracked mirror. He walked out the door and down the broken steps. He walked next door to the church. He went inside and sat down in a pew. He bowed his head and asked forgiveness for the people of his town and asked that they someday know the true meaning of love. He then walked out the backdoor to the graveyard. He sat down in front of a gravestone that read Mary Church, beloved wife and mother. He sat there for a long time talking to the stone. He then got up and walked down the street to the mayor's house. After a while he headed back home. He took off the suit and hung it back in the closet. He then went outside and sat on the porch in his chair.

The following Sunday the old man sat and listened to the singing and watched as the rich and important people passed by. He said good morning and then got up and went next door to the church. They watched as the old man went inside, they shook their heads and whispered. The church was quiet that Sunday morning, as the preacher stood on the pulpit. He told the congregation that the owner of the land that the church was built on had decided that he wanted the church torn down and that they had one month to vacate. The faces of the congregation were in disbelief. They could not believe that some rich important person would think that their beautiful church was unimportant and should be torn down. Who would be so cruel and mean as to take their home from them? Who would not even consider their feelings and thoughts? Who could decide their fates and not even care for anyone but themselves? The old man stood up and introduced himself as Noah Church," I am the old man who lives next door and greets you every Sunday. I have lived there for fifty years and not a one of you have ever said a single word to me." "I sit on my porch and listen to the singing and wonder how such beautiful words come from such hateful mouths." "You sit and gossip about the poor and unimportant and you never give of yourselves to anyone or anything." "I am the one who owns this land, and I am the one who built this church." "My home was just an ugly old place that brought you shame and disgust. You did not hesitate to take my home without a thought as to how it would affect me and as to where I might end up" The old man then walked down the aisle and out the door. The people sat there and stared as he left. The church became silent. That night a terrible tornado came through the town and destroyed the church. The people could not believe what they saw, the church lay in splinters and the old house next door was untouched. The old man was bent over in his yard picking up boards and pieces of stained-glass windows. He said good morning and continued to work. The men took their thousand-dollar suit jackets off and began to help, the women lay their fur coats on the porch of the old shack and began to clean debris off the graves. That day there was no rich or poor, not important or unimportant, there was only people of a town working side by side together to rebuild their town and their lives.
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