“This morning, we surround ourselves with the good and holy love of God Almighty and ask his blessing as we embark upon a journey that discusses temptations and wiles of the Devil, who earnestly wishes to lead us into sin and away from the Throne of God.”
“Mmmhmmm,” several members of the the congregation audibly replied.
Pastor Glenn smiled, raised his right arm, and continued. “We start with the worst of the offenses, that which is a biblical abomination that will not allow any man or woman to stand before that Blessed Throne. We start with the worst of the biblical offenses, and it is that of the sodomite who shall surely burn in the eternal fires of torment in Hell.”
Zavien nodded in agreement along with his family and the rest of the congregation. Nearly 2 hours after it started, the service ended and Zavien played the final chords of the closing worship song on the piano. The congregation broke into applause and people started chatting as they collected their belongings and made their way out to the parking lot or downstairs to the fellowship hall. Zavien and the band members politely nodded. It felt awkward to acknowledge the applause, but Pastor Glenn helped him understand that people needed a way to express gratitude to the musicians and singers for using their gifts in service of the Lord.
Zavien took a moment to organize his sheet music before standing to stretch his back and arms.
“Hi, Zavi,” a bubbly, excited, and slightly hoarse voice behind him said in greeting, using his nickname.
The scent of a familiar but light floral soap or perfume hit his nose and though Zavien felt himself tense, but he turned around anyway. Before he could react, Delilah swept up his hands in hers and smiled at him, her doe eyes soaking him in. “I nearly cried with happiness this morning. You were on fire today. We are so blessed to have you leading worship, Oh my gosh, you have no idea.”
Zavien winced in pain. “Thanks, but I kinda need my fingers to play the piano.”
Delilah’s eyes widened with amused shock and she immediately let go. “I’m so sorry! I just get so excited and you’re so talented and we’re so lucky. I’m so thankful we have you here so we can all grow closer to God each Sunday.”
Zavien nodded. “Thanks. I need to, um, help the band clean up.” Gosh, you can sure lay it on thick, he thought.
“Okay,” she said with a wave, then threw her arms around him gave him a kiss on the cheek. Zavien awkwardly hugged her back until she finally let go. “Will I see you tonight?”
Zavien shot her a confused look. Tonight?
“Your family is coming over for dinner, silly,” she said, twirling a lock of curls with her fingers.
“Oh, right, yeah, I’ll be there,” Zavien replied.
She gave him a big smile. “Great! I can’t wait. Text you later,” she winked, then skipped down the aisle to join her friends, who welcomed her with smiles as their eyes darted between her and him.
Zavien turned around, and when he was sure they couldn’t see his face, he discretely wiped the kiss off his cheek. He glanced at his fingers and felt relief when they weren’t lipstick stained.