The Bishop

Mary scanned the crowd milling about the parish hall.  She’d arrived late and had just enough time to grab a cup of coffee and speak to a couple of friends.

She was wending her way toward the pastry table when a lone figure in the corner caught her attention.  He stood there taking in his surroundings with a placid expression.  He must have wandered in off the street, she thought.  Best to find him something to eat and send him on his way. 

As she moved in his direction, he turned and made eye contact.  There was something about his confident smile that unnerved her.  You never know what these people will do.

She was just about to speak to him when someone from behind called her name.  It was an old friend who’d moved away more than a year ago.  By the time Mary looked back the homeless man was gone.

Slowly the crowd made its way to the sanctuary, each to his customary pew.  As the organist began the opening song, Mary clutched her hymnal, stood and faced the procession.  She’d forgotten that today the new bishop was visiting and would deliver the sermon. 

Younger and trimmer than most bishops she’d known, he looked elegant in his miter and robe.  Again, they made eye contact as he passed, again the confident smile.

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