by Bubba Smitham
(Austin, TX, U.S.)
The pastor began his sermon as he did every time
Reading from a devotional that he found online
As far as pastors go, he really wasn't very good
He tried to explain things he himself never understood
Most people left more confused than they came
But a few were there that day to listen all the same
The topic of the day was how God understands all our problems
Something about how he cares even when he doesn't solve them
It would have been just another Sunday with all the usual fluff
If it hadn't been for the young girl in the back who’d had enough
She shot up and shouted to everyone's surprise
"You're a liar!!" She yelled, tears streaming from her eyes
You see this young girl had just started 9th grade
And what a first impression that high school had made
All her friends from middle school decided she wasn’t cool anymore,
And even her best friend had thrown her lunch on the floor
"God doesn’t get me or anything I’ve been through,
I’m sick of all the lies and listening to you
He lives up in heaven where everything is perfect and happy
I hate to break it to you but real life is pretty crappy
You say he understands me, he can only pretend!
He’s never felt the sting of being betrayed by a best friend”
Her mother flushed hot with embarrassment
She would be grounded for months for this little event
She grabbed her by the hand to drag her out the door
Then she heard, “the girl speaks the truth and nothing more”
It came from a few rows up and to the right,
An old woman whose dreams still kept her up at night
Haunted over and over again by all that she had lost,
One of the few living survivors of the horror of the holocaust
She stood, hands instinctively covering numbers carved into her arm
Remembering years full of only sorrow and harm
"What does God know of true pain?
To be hated simply for the origin of your last name,
Paraded down the street mocked with symbols of shame!
I was beaten and spit on and treated like a beast
Where was almighty god in all this? our loving high priest”
She stood as tall as she could with no tears on her clothes
Her life had been a sad one and she had no more of those
A large man with tattoos on his arms stood up in the back
He shouted “You can know for certain that god isn’t black,
Cuz he’s never been convicted for a crime he didn’t do
To be hated so much that even your family won’t believe you
I believed all this back when I was younger
But I’ve learned not to trust anyone who hasn’t known hunger
The pastor simply stood, unsure of what to say
In all the videos and lessons, things never happened this way
He almost blurted a response, when he felt the pull of gods will
A voice in his head saying, “just shut up and be still”
And all at once everyone noticed something on the wall
A decoration above the pulpit next to a painting of Apostle Paul
It was a statute of man, bloodied and hanging from a cross
Each person in the room simply froze, completely at a loss
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