The minister intoned ‘tis more blessed to give than to receive’ and the collection plate was passed from pew to pew, some checks placed face up and unfolded, for all to see the largesse, though most checks and cash were discreetly folded, more modestly placed. The plate clinked with unclutched coins from children who were rewarded with approving nods and smiles from their parents and the parishioners. This was a time in the service when a certain amount of surreptitious stretching and surmising happened, necks turning and eyes following the plate as it filled up, moving hand to hand then to the pew behind.

So the pause was noticeable when a slight, scruffy person, sitting at the end of a pew, head bowed, did not look up, did not deposit an offering, did not take the plate that was held out to him. After an awkward moment, the plate was handed to the person in the pew behind the stranger, whose fervent focus was disconcerting to a congregation that did not recognize him.

But later some would remark on the play of light when the collection plate had been passed behind the stranger, how the refracted sunlight that glanced off the plate shone over his bowed head, illuminating him, appearing for all the world like a halo.


A six sentence story written for  Unchartered Life under the Radar cue word “plate”.


18 thoughts on “Passing

  1. nice*

    * like one of those photo from the turn-of-the-century** purporting to show a spirit inadvertently captured on a photo graphic plate. back when science was still as much of shadow and light and not of LED and Facebook, and educated (if not misguided) adults would pore over ‘scientific’ evidence of ghosts and afterlife, in the hope to prove what they wanted to believe.

    **no, the real century, before the Jetson Enlightenment Era began

    Liked by 1 person

    • There you go again. I wrote it but didn’t think of the stranger as being a spirit.* Now I consider that a possibility. Or, perhaps the stranger is the embodiment of true** and deep Christian values and offerings which these parishioners claim to believe in.

      * for me, it was more about the congregation

      Thanks for coming by for a read.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, ’tis better to give than to receive. Unless you’re the Reverend collecting the collection plate. Or more so, if you’re the TV Evangelist. Then it’s better to get everyone else to give so you can receive.
    I think I like this haloed stranger.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Agape | ShiftnShake

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s