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By A.D. Stone ~

A fictitious story based on an actual event...

A cloudish foreboding twisted in the sanctuary, as they all waited for a nice settling of energy. Drunken with hype, while their relevant songs were escaping the mouths of those dazed at the meanings of each lyric. Trying to calm down from their emotional frenzy, ushering in the very presence of god – invading the room. Not because he was always there, but because they sang their little hearts out to him demanding his smoke. The aroma of their arrangements and notes all collaborating in unity. Making such a sweet, sweet sound.

Only moments earlier, they were all verbally dancing righteous words spinning them into the air behind each other’s back before the show. Tightly dressed in their crisp attire, they gathered in the hallways and throughout the room, spilling out innuendos and laughing daggers about each other all in the name of love. Revealing just how these pristine lips had been burned with coal from heaven to make them perfect in god’s sight.

They sat quivering in anticipation for the main event that the most sanctified ones had paid for. Walking up to the stadium shoulders slumped, a giant of a man at least 6’5. Dredging his legs with each step, staged with performance he spun to face the crowd. Once towering over people – his words had spoken with authority. Those days slipped away – vaporized in time. The days when his words could sink his power into the souls of those who adored him. His sockets had been sucked dry - his words only fused the inner hidings of defeat.

Slumping a little, while indifference poured from his frown. Each breath forced – pulling out syllables from shallow wells. Managing to speak the play of enthusiasm, his words contrite, filling awkwardness into the air. Clumsily speaking out unable to look at the pool of faces eagerly licking up his every word. His hallowed frame was no longer able to articulate very well, but he was always able to pull from the tried and true. Stammering over the announcements mustering the last bit of excitement his tongue wagged out “God is really changing things, He’s moving.”

The crowd waved with murmuring, their attentions glued to electronic devices, and whispers to each other. They had paid for entertainment – boredom filled their stares. His title was able to receive a few “amen’s” “and one or two “hallelujah’s” the faithful zealots never let god down, even if their anointed was failing they still carried the title. Most importantly, the eager ones needed the less eager to recognize their importance and favor. These enthusiasts knew all of the prayer requests, and every detail about the congregation. They spent their time in prayer every week keeping up appearances.

As he looked, the blurred haze of silhouettes became a nuisance. His thoughts gathering about the game that was coming on the TV later, he used that as his motivation, taking a deep breath he announced who would be speaking. Throwing in several jokes about how awful marriage can be, chuckling out “Praise God for His mercy!” He studiously announced: “Pastor Lil has a marvelous message given to her directly from the Holy Spirit that she is going to share today.”

Dubbed the queen of information, she would share all of her juicy tidbits with her choice person of the week. Using her talent for gathering information through god loving spies her plans were always the same, one remora fish at a time. Mastering her game with dangling tokens, and promises of favor.

Her smirk was as slicing as broken glass, glaring out to the crowed as she walked up prodding for the disciple she chose that week to use during her sermon. She was a colossal woman towering at 5”11 maybe taller. It wasn’t just her height that was so magnificent her mouth was just as enormous. Pounding and boisterous thunder clapping into the ears of any audience. It didn’t matter if they wanted to hear her or not.

The messy dark hair flapped off her head, but somehow she was put together enough for people not to notice much or forget about it. The shards of piercing green eyes felt like stabs when she looked at you directly. They would slant a little when she smiled. Smiles that had hidden attacks in them, and if you listened close enough you would hear “I hate you, you little son of a bitch.” There was no way to prove it - you were only left feeling like a group of football players had tackled you.

Walking up the stairs she was a powerhouse with each stomp, reaching her destination, she yanked the microphone away from him. Turning to her followers, she nodded for him to go. The eyes of the crowd beamed throughout the room, and with no sound. Quickly they all shook off any feelings that made them feel bad. They came to a silent agreement, and relaxed with their heads all going back to watch her.

They enjoyed their little community politics too much and needed it to stay the way it had always been. There was no need to shake things up, everyone knew how they were supposed to behave, and that made them feel powerful. “Such favor I have from god.” Each one would think to themselves with a half-cocked smile. While looking at the person next to them thinking with a sigh “They are so non-spiritual”.

Looming over the podium, she glared in silence, looking out at everyone. Weaving and darting back and forth achieving an uncomfortable and awkward thickness. All murmurs ceased and eyes were glued on her. The fear shook them as each one recalled all the times they had not quieted down when she was up there. Blurting out each sin, they had committed – not by name, but it was very clear to everyone who she was talking about.

She thrived on their energy while making her statements so there would be no confusion. There were enough hints of information that she knew about their business. Teasing them with the threat of exposure. The anxious room inflated her with emotion. Everyone waited for the darts to penetrate one of them. Looking around at each other, but quickly looking back at her trembling.

Letting go of her invisible grip, finally exploding with a slight southern draw crashing into their ears. “Today I am going to teach you about love. I know all about love. I am love ’cause I have Jesus. Jesus is love and I know Jesus so I know love.” The crowd didn’t dare look away – all staring forward nodding their heads agreeing.

“John 3:16 says that God so LOVED. Do you hear me? LOVED. I have sacrificed everything for my kids, my husband, and for you people. That is love. I came from a pit. I know the pit I am came from and Jesus pulled me out. Amen, hallelujah! Praise the Lord, I am free! Now I am love ’cause I know what it’s like to be loved. God loves me so I know how to teach you to love.”

Her husband struck with bewilderment stared at her. His face turning gray, his guts were pouring out all over the floor. Visibly shaking, drifting into his thoughts: “How did we get to this place?” “My God! What happened to me?” If anyone had noticed, they would have seen the death of a soul right in front of them. He quickly stopped, shaking his head again and rubbing his eyes cowering at the floor. As he felt her burning eyes upon his flesh, she could read his thoughts.

He wasn’t from here; the culture was foreign to him and very confusing. In years past he had been a very intelligent man. He was able to articulate ideas and theologies very well. He was bold and confident. He knew who he was and what he believed. It wasn’t simple he had wrestled with his beliefs he was dynamic in explaining the love of God and what that meant. That man was gone. Something had sucked his brain dry and left an empty vessel. There were glimpses of who he really was, but he would quickly stuff him back down before anyone would notice.

At times, he would watch those who didn’t understand the unwritten rules. They would get up and leave. They would walk around outside or congregate in the hallway, as she would go on a rant about something that no one could follow except her closest followers. Disgusted, but deflated he watched them leave in confusion. Sometimes he would have thoughts of escaping as he could hear her faithful’s minds stirring up their brews just like the witches in Macbeth. Hackling about, bringing mounds of chaos as they pranced around. Screeching in unison “Praise the Lord,” “Glory,” “Hallelujah,” “Amen sister,” and “Preach it!” Trumpeting from their horns in triumph.

Always encouraged by her brewed – she would go on and on about whatever she watched on TV that week. Sharing her encounters with vegans. Never shy to give her opinions about how she couldn’t believe they were so stupid. Shouting and beating her chest: “God made animals for me to eat! God made animals for me to have a fur coat! These people need to get off their high horse, and eat some meat, maybe then - they wouldn’t waste so much time protesting. Really, I just wanted to go shopping in peace and not have these morons in my way.”

Today her message was about love, spiritually on fire because she had just returned from Mexico being on a mission trip. Clamoring to the crowd how they needed to comprehend her abilities to give glory to god. Unable to control her exuberance she told them the story of how she prayed over someone, and their shorter thumb miraculously grew to the same length as their other thumb. Leaving out the part that the person was a five-year-old. Everyone was very impressed. Her faithful jumped up wailing “Glory!” and shouting out praises toward her. Running up and down the stairs – arms thrashing about in intense description.

Leading back into her message pounding her fists on the podium splintered words flew from her wet lips: “I am all about love. I love you just like Jesus. I give you all of me. I pour out myself in prayer over you! Now listen, part of love is giving. You need to give in order to receive. I give to you all of me, and I expect you to give too so I will receive from all of the seeds I have sewn. Like in the area of finances, I am a giver, I tithe, and I get. If you tithe, just like the Bible says in Malachi 3, god will open up the heavens. See if you give like you are supposed to, you won’t be in the mess that you are in. God will bless you if you give now that is love. If you love god you will give, that is an act of love. You show god and me that you love us by giving your tithe. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t want you to show your love by giving so that I can get. I want to do missions. We need to go to other countries. I need to show those people my love and how much god loves them.”

“Here’s what we are asking; just give up one Starbucks a week. Just one, you know $3, $4, maybe $5. I don’t know, however, much you spend there $6? Whatever, put it aside and tithe it to our missions. Come on, this is love, giving up your Starbucks. I know the world says we are in a recession, but not god! Hallelujah! We are blessed! Amen, praise the Lord!”

Lightening crashing from her body banging out: “JUST ONE STARBUCKS PEOPLE! THAT’S ALL WE ASK!!”

Thrusting out all of her energy, sweat beading down her hairline she calmed for a moment feeling vulnerable in her theatrics. Standing still, gaining composure she spoke: “I say we love ’cause god first loved us. Since, I am anointed and know god’s love I can share my love with you and with the world. I know love.”

Closing her eyes, raising her hands, and pacing across the stage she began to pray.

“Father thank you for the love you have given me that I am able to share it with all of these people and many more around the world. I ask you to bless these people and lay it on their hearts to do what is right. So I can spread your love all over the world. Stop the enemy from hindering your ordained plans. Open the eyes of everyone here to see the plans you want m... us to fulfill. In Jesus name, I pray. Hallelujah!”

Confusion rushing everyone they walked out feeling they had been ambushed in a war battle, but thinking: “It must have been really great. Everyone else seems ok – maybe I am not spiritual enough? Wait, no I get it she was really on fire today. The Holy Spirit was speaking through her.” Those who didn’t agree did not say a word – they knew what would happen if they spoke up. They gave knowing glances and went about their business falling into their little games and giving it no more thought.

Later, that day one of her faithful posted a scripture verse on her Facebook. Something in Psalms about not touching god’s anointed or harming his prophets. The version was very different from any Pastor Lil had read before when she saw it she had to know where they found it. It was perfect for her next sermon. She wrote, “Hey, I like that! What translation is it? I can’t look it up right now, I’m in Starbucks.”