In most of the pews, one hand held half the hymnal, and the other fanned its owner.
This Sunday had been overcast, and the wind, which had whipped ladies’ hats from their heads before morning services, had died away to nothing by the time worshippers arrived for evening services. Now a sticky stillness permeated Cherrydale.
“Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!” they sang in the sanctuary of the First Lutheran Church, a moderate brick building erected twenty years earlier when the town and the congregation were growing before the Great Depression began. “Thou hast loved us, love us still.”
Eyes kept going from the hymnals to the windows. Evening was coming, to be sure, but too quickly. The unnatural darkness had everyone on edge, even in the house of the Lord.
And so they sang with more feeling than usual: “Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast loved us, love us still.”
The Rev. Morton stepped into his pulpit. “Be seated.” As his flock sat, he stole another glance out the windows himself.