Vinnie opened the door and greeted us with hugs. He then gave me an odd look.
“What?” I said.
“You’re not fifteen minutes early, which means you’re late.”
I pointed at Jane as she walked ahead of me, past the small office on the left and into the great room.
Vinnie and Gracie had completely remodeled the condo, removing two walls, adding dark hardwood floors, white crown molding, and painting the walls a soft yellow. The place sparkled and was perfect for Wednesday night home church meetings. The Sunday meeting still remained at our home, but we also had a morning women’s meeting, a men’s meeting, and an outdoor prayer meeting in a park. We were now a community that enjoyed being with one another.
“Hey, Gunsmoke, over here,” said Phil, standing by the large maple harvest table.
We hugged and patted each other on the backs.
I turned to greet seventy-eight year old Randy Greenfield with a hug, even though he breathed through a nose cannula and held his compact oxygen tank in his left hand. He had been a pack a day smoker until quitting at age sixty-five. His wife, Jessie, sitting at the table, reached up, and held my hands in hers. She suffered from diabetes and vision problems.
I greeted Faye and Gracie who were busy preparing the food. Both Ruth Harden and Pamela Walters waved at me and I moved in their direction. Seventy-six year old Ruth sat in a wheelchair because of a stroke from a year earlier. Pamela was an eighty-four year old woman who suffered stage-three bone cancer, but never let it get her down. The two women hugged and kissed me.
“Where are Mason and Flo?” I asked.
“They called and said they might be a few minutes late,” replied Vinnie.
Vinnie left to answer the doorbell. He soon returned with Mason and Florence Prewitt, an African-American couple, who were both in their early seventies. Everyone greeted them with hugs.
“Let’s sit down and eat,” said Gracie, carrying a bowl of vegetable soup to the table.
The twelve of us sat around the large table and held hands while Vinnie blessed the meal. Then, the fellowship began in earnest. Different ones testified what the Lord was doing in their lives. A few shared scripture revelations. Faye sang a new song. On and on, it went while we ate. As someone once wrote: home churches that meat together stay together.
“Hey everyone, can you guess what our friends at Jedidiah Smith Community Church call us?” asked Faye during a lull in the conversation.
The clanking of spoons against bowls of vegetable soup ceased. The room became quiet. All looked toward Faye with blank looks on their faces.
“No, what?” said Gracie, not willing to play along with the guessing game.
“The geezer church!” proclaimed Faye. Her dark eyes narrowed and lips puckered to show the acrid taste in her mouth from the name.
“What a great name? I love it,” said Vinnie.
“Yeah, me, too,” replied Randy.
Phil looked at Faye first before giving the thumbs up sign.
“Maybe we should register the name. Then, we can print ‘Geezer Church’ logos on caps and t-shirts. Maybe even bumper stickers,” I said, thinking about royalties.
Jane elbowed me in the ribs and gave me her look, the one that sends me to the guest bedroom to sleep if I step over the line.
“I hate it!” she proclaimed, crossing her arms in her ‘don’t mess with Jane’ manner.
“Why?” I asked.
“I don’t like being defined as an old bloke.”
“We may be approaching the sunsets of our lives, but I don’t have to be reminded of it with a comedic term. I can still pray and worship the Lord as well as I did in my younger years and maybe even better.
Pamela put her two forefingers to her lips and whistled a shrill-pitched note.
“I agree with Jane,” she added.
“Do we need a name?” I asked.
“Yes,” all the women said in unison.
The men shrugged and gritted their teeth.
“Let’s hear your ideas,” said Faye, looking around the table.
The suggested names ranged from the Agape Home Church to the Temecula Valley Home Group, with numerous cutesy ones in between.
“What about Last Chance?” I said as the conversation died down.
“Last Chance? Why?” asked Ruth.
“For most of us it’s our last chance to serve the Lord. It’s the last chance to speak what is in our hearts to others. It’s our last chance to earn eternal rewards. It’s our last chance to know Jesus better on this side of heaven.”
Phil waved his hand in the air. All turned toward him.
“I’m convinced that Last Chance is a great name for our group. What about the rest of you?” he said, lightly elbowing Faye in the ribs.
That night, we upgraded our name from Geezer Church to Last Chance in a unanimous vote, but yet the slight shiver still remained in place when we drove home.
(Excerpt from Unhinged Geezer by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2015, Amazon eBook)
For many years, I have prayed and fasted on Tuesdays for various reasons. It all began with praying for the suffering Christians of North Korea. Then it included praying for Christians held as prisoners in Asia. Then for India. Then for all of Asia. Then for “one new man.” Then for healing and deliverance.
So now, beginning next week, I will be praying and fasting for senior citizens (geezers) to be revived, set on fire by the Holy Spirit, take their places in a new move of God, and for some Last Chance groups to be planted in America, especially on the West Coast.