For Heaven's Sake

We came early to our friend's funeral. She had been a member of our church for years—before leaving during a church split. The split was now a decade-old memory. We had been able to reconcile with many. Others we saw only at funerals or weddings.

After visiting with the bereaved, we took our seats with our children in the middle of the nearly empty church. Soon, another family entered, the family who had led the charge out our church doors so many years ago. This man had waged a vicious campaign, culminating in our senior pastor's suicide. He still publicly embarrassed and berated anyone he encountered who attended our church.

Though there were a hundred empty pews on each side of the aisle, his wife and four children, all nearly grown now, headed for the one in front of ours. Our hopes lifted. Perhaps today they would lay their old grudges aside.

They removed their coats and placed their Bibles on the pew, facing us, but looked beyond, as though we were invisible ghosts. Our ...

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