Hosea 6:6 – “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice…”

James 2:13 – “… Mercy triumphs over judgment!”

The church was the very picture of cleanliness and order, arrayed in a beautiful white painted exterior. Inside a large cross stood solidly on the stage to the right of the preacher. A bright white screen gave announcements and words to the songs as the congregation joyfully sang.

Soon in solemn stillness, an offering plate passed among the people and each put in their hard earned money. The plate overflowed.

The door at the back of the church hesitantly opened and a woman stepped through into the beautiful sanctuary. She had harsh features, a short dress, and dark brown hair with bright red dye streaked outrageously on one side. Her earrings jangled a discordant note in the assembly.

The preacher squinted slightly and saw that this “woman” was actually a teenager. He slowly came down from the pulpit. The congregation watched in silence. As he drew closer, the smell of cigarette smoke assailed his nostrils. The girl’s stomach protruded slightly out from the tight dress.

Although it was time for the service to begin, the preacher sat down next to the teenager and smiled. While they spoke quietly, a breeze rippled through the church and soon the strangest thing began to happen.

The oldest person in the church, Mary, who had been widowed for many years came over and sat next to the girl on the other side. The young teenager looked to the preacher and then to Mary; slowly tears began to slide down her face.

One by one the senior saints of the church came forward and welcomed the new person. Pregnant, unmarried, homeless and frightened- this was Sarah. Soon the younger members got up and came to greet her also.

By the end of the very unusual service, somehow the offering plate was in Sarah’s lap. She slowly placed it in the seat next to her then turned to Mary. The wrinkled hand gently held the young one and together they stepped toward the cross. Sarah knelt and tears poured from her eyes and from her heart. Angels rejoiced.

John 7:53 – 8:11. 

What if?