Ting! Tong! Ting-ting! Tong!
The nine AM bells shepherded the flock into the red doors of the chapel. From the parking lot, Anja saw the bell swinging in the tower. Just above it the Cross glinted in the sunlight. Calling all children of God. Come on home, the Cross said.
Brothers and sisters, sinners and saints, the young and the old, the rich and the poor: all are welcome here. There’s a place for me, Anja realized as she blended into the flock. Another sheep being herded home to her family.
Inside, the crowd spread out in ripples. Except for Anja who stood in the doorway with her yellow clutch. Her high heels pressed promptly together. Her body upright and proper. Her eyes filled with wonder, her smile brightening when children raced past her.
“And she cometh in a ray of sunshine with the smile of an awakening soul,” a man said as he approached Anja head on. “And thou be the bearer of the sword of the Spirit.”
“I’m sorry?” Anja said.
The balding man in the suit extended a hand for Anja to shake. “I’m Pastor Shaun Caplan.”
“Jesus told me to be here,” Anja said, accepting his handshake.
“Because I have something to give you,” he said.
“Come.” He motioned her to follow him.
Everyone Pastor Shaun passed greeted him warmly. Shaun reached out for a gentle touch, a comforting pat on the back, a handshake to an older fellow.
“How ya doin’, Shaun?”