Episode Nine of The Pastor Murder Mystery
When he was still in seminary David Noble had all the markings of a great pastor. One of his greatest natural assets was his ability to connect with a congregation on a deep emotional level when he was preaching. David did a lot of research and prepared his sermons well. When it came time to preach David was jacked up and was ready to deliver a sermon that was so captivating that his congregation would wish that he would preach longer. David was often tempted to do just that and give his parishioners what they wanted but he knew the rules and so did his elders and deacons.
As Brownstone was a Baptist Conference church that meant that sermons would end on time and would be no longer than twenty-five minutes. David often wondered about this sermon time restraint but was told by his elders that this was the way it had always been.
He recalled one of the deacons telling him, “Look David, keeping your sermons short and to the point benefits everyone. Most people’s attention span isn’t that great. If you go over the allotted time most of them won’t take in what you’re saying anyway. It would be a waste and would just get our members frustrated. Plus, everybody is pretty hungry by twelve-fifteen. Face facts David. Most Christians don’t want to spend their whole Sunday in church. For you Sunday is a working day. For most other people its half their weekend. People need to go home and relax.”
David had to admit that this was a fairly logical explanation for a rule that he didn’t like or agree with.
Fortunately, Melissa was close to the bottom of the stairs when the telephone rang. When she picked up the phone it was the church secretary, Julie Olson on the line.
“Hey Melissa. I’m worried about Pastor Noble.”
“Oh, why is that?” Melissa asked.
“He left the office a few minutes ago and drove off in his car. He looked very troubled and like he was in a great hurry to leave the church.”
“Did he say where he was going?”
“He didn’t say a thing to me Melissa. It’s not like the pastor to leave the church without telling me where he was going and when he expected to be back. I even checked his Daytimer but he didn’t have any appointments scheduled for this afternoon.”
“That is strange. Maybe he got a call from the hospital that one of his parishioners wasn’t doing well and that he needed to see them right away. I’ll tell you what Julie. I know that he has been visiting some people at Grace Hospital. I’ll call Grace and ask if David is there. The staff there all know David because he always makes time to chat with them. Thanks for giving me the heads up.”
Melissa Noble hung up the phone and walked over to the peach colored sofa in the living room. She felt guilty about lying to Julie. She wasn’t going to call the hospital. She doubted very much that that’s where her husband went.
Melissa had known for a while that something was not right with David. He wasn’t the David she used to know. He had become very agitated of late and found it hard to concentrate on anything. When Melissa tried to talk to David he would appear to be disengaged from the conversation. He often didn’t remember what she had just said to him.
David was now spending most of his evenings locked away in his study. He told Melissa that he had some important things that he was working on and that he didn’t want to be disturbed. After a couple of hours Melissa would knock on the door to the study and ask David if he would like some coffee and cookies. When David finally let his wife in she noticed that he didn’t have any books or papers on his desk. He would be sitting in his black leather office chair staring out of his window. When Melissa asked him if anything was wrong David just shook his head in denial.