The Secret Hymn
Pews were packed in the old church, just as they had been for the past six weeks. There was a new life breathed into the church when Father Gregory assumed his position. He was young, had longish blonde hair that brushed the bottom of his collar, and a way of speaking to a crowd that made everyone feel like he was talking just to them. He was the complete opposite of Father Baker.
No one knew Father Baker was leaving, or where he even went. Father Gregory just showed up that bright, Sunday morning and the town was memorized. Even the children behaved in church. Soon, everyone in town was clambering to come back to church.
Amie and Sarah sat with their parents in the back pew and listened as Father Gregory spoke of the Four Horsemen.
“At least that would give us something to do,” Sarah whispered.
Amie silently giggled. She was as bored as her sister was with New Hope and its old ways. A little excitement never hurt anyone.
Amie pulled out the hymnal and let it fall open to whatever page it wanted and gasped. “Sarah, look at this,” she whispered, pointing to ….
….an old pressed flower hiding the words of ‘The Lord is My Shephard’. The flower had been laid out in a deliberate fashion and on closer inspection there appeared to be blood stains on the petals.
The drop of blood had separated the petals enough for the words: “He restoreth my soul” to be clearly visible.
Amie tried to lift the petals from the page, but they were old and so fell to pieces in her fingers. The two girls looked at each mystified by their discovery.
Father Gregory as if aware of the girl’s discovery stopped his homily and waited for the girls to return their attention to him.
“We are all sinners,” said the young priest, “some greater sinners than others but a sinner is a sinner in God’s eyes, and eternal damnation will reign down upon you if you refuse to repent and accept God’s love into your heart.”
The girls sat upright at this. They had heard Father Baker say the same things and in the same way and that sent a shiver down their spines.
Father Gregory raised his hands above his head and announced that those who recognised themselves as sinners should stand NOW! The entire congregation stood, and he applauded them all. As they collectively sat down the statue to his right turned on its axis and the young priest…..
I pass the tale to Good Sir Fandango at https://fivedotoh.com/