Greater

Though March still, Lily felt hot. She perspired easily, especially when distressed. Thoughts of Beth’s and Desiree Dramal’s schemes roiled her emotions. She turned on her car’s radio as she passed Beulah, its white steeple and cross overwatching.

An established pastor-teacher’s voice was preaching from Luke 20. Lily listened to Dr. M____________ read Luke’s gospel:

And in the hearing of al the people he said to his disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

Lily turned up the dial. She labored to reconcile these words with her life. Then she turned the dial back down, assured of God’s mysterious providence.

Lily neared her place and thought of her days ahead with her students. She wanted to push them to think through Hamlet’s many struggles to set things right in Elsinore. She wanted them to see how Pip and Estelle had reasons to hope for restoration in Great Expectations. She thought of how she might help with the spring play.

Lily’s drive today, like many, comforted her. Most of the fields were plowed, tilled, ready for seed. As she neared her home, she turned the radio dial up again. She wanted to hear the remainder of the pastor’s teaching.

She decided to drive out to Donald’s farm. As she turned onto the highway that led to Donald’s farm, Lily listened to the pastor: Jesus told his followers that the impostors would receive ‘greater condemnation’. God is not blind, beloved. He is not, as Paul says, mocked. ‘Greater condemnation’.” Then the pastor fell silent as if unsure of whether to end. Finally his voice returned and he prayed.

Lily neared Donald’s farm. As she did, she discovered she had arrived before Donald had returned from the Cup-n-Saucer. She pulled off the highway and gazed over towards his property as if in thanksgiving.

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