Bright sanctuary.

The warm, muted, soft kind of bright,

the kind that slides nearly unnoticed through the frosted glass above,

settling over the pews below,

filling the space between pew and carpet,

window and sill,

floor and ceiling.

There are spaces, there on the pews.

It’s a holiday weekend and I count missing faces

in the time between stand and sit,

between greetings and prayer

between coming and going.

But it’s not an empty place,

here in the pale yellow glow.

On the stage, pacing slightly, moving one way, then another,

he recites.

Four chapters by memory, added to the dozens of others

that he’s already committed to memory.

Before he began to recite, he stood and he spoke;

words about depression and suicide

and thoughts you just can’t seem to shake.

And I hear the tears in his voice

and in that sun-above light, his eyes shine

and he says cling to the Word

because this we will always have.

And then he begins.

I’m so excited, I whisper to the father, who sits besides me,

and I hear my voice squeak, every so slightly,

extra excitement squeezing out of my tight chest.

And then, up on stage, he begins to speak,

and the words and the verses,

the pauses and the inflections,

the living sound of the Word of God,

fills that sanctuary,

rising gently,


up to the wide ceiling,

filling that sun-lit sanctuary.



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