Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: At the Pulpit (11/15/07)
TITLE: Greasy Hair Makes Perfect
By lucie buchert
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Eyes on the master of creative manipulation. Hair slicked back. Smile in place. The organ begins to play an old hymn “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder.” With grandeur, Preacher Rick marches in place as he sings in a loud baritone voice, “And though this world, with devils filled, threaten to undo us, we will not fear.” I shudder, thinking of all kinds of devils skirting around trying to trick us into sin. Then, just as quickly, I am pulled back into the song which sings of triumph over evil. Everyone is all smiles as Preacher Rick finishes with a low bow. Clapping to the Lord (and to Preacher Rick). Now then, time to pray and reflect. “Let us bow our heads and pray,” Preacher Rick says in a reverent voice, a change from the dramatic singing earlier. “Dear Heavenly and most Holy Lord, we come to You today in a spirit of confession. Lord, please direct Your people to the Promised Land. Let Your presence fill this congregation. Let the people see their own sin, as dirty laundry that needs to be cleaned. Make it clear to us, Lord. Make it clear to us. Ooh, Lord. We know that You are here. Make Your presence known.” A subtle drum roll begins. The people are hushed.
I peek, just a little. A crowd has grown around the pulpit. Preacher Rick is about to do his healing. Oh, I believe in healing, I do. I know that God is great and able to do great things. It’s just that I also know there has been some rumors going around in regards to our church and Preacher Rick. I heard people talking at Fred’s Grocery Store downtown – not that I was listening mind you. But I heard it all the same. They said something to the effect that Preacher Rick was wearing an earpiece that was rigged up to someone in the church foyer. Well, that someone had gotten information from the Healing Cards (cards given to people arriving), and was spoon feeding it to Preacher Rick. At least that’s what I heard.
P. Rick sure is a smooth talker. He can make most anyone feel important and special. I can’t imagine that he is a fake. Why just the other day he healed a lady – I was there! Right there at the gas station! She was screaming like a banshee, and Preacher Rick went right up to her, slayed her in the Spirit and she fell down, and was immediately silent (She wasn’t moving either…but that’s not the point).
Some people don’t like the way P. Rick wears his hair. He slicks it back like he’s living in the 40’s, like a young Clark Gable. I actually kind of like it.
My attention comes back to the front of the church, still peeking. Is that…? That’s Susie Stratton! Why, goodness me, what is she going forward for? Never mind, it’s none of my business. Closing my eyes. Tightly shut. Not going to look. (Is it a sin to open one’s eyes in the middle of prayer?)
“Is there someone here with arthritis or a sprained ankle? I know you are out there, sitting in your pew, afraid to get up. Come now, the Lord is waiting for you,” Preacher Rick cries. Just then, three people make there way up front. (Yes, I looked if you must know!) “Look at these hurting people here today.” At last my opportunity to look and not feel guilty. “I tell you in the name of Jesus you are healed.” Preacher Rick slams his open palm onto the lady’s forhead; she falls back, and is caught by two elders. “Bless you and go in peace.” The lady is walked off the platform. “We have a football player here.” People cheer as he smiles wide and cheesy at the video camera. “You must have a sprained ankle?” Preacher Rick asks. With a look of astonishment on his face the teenage jock says, “Wow, like I can’t believe you knew that Preacher Rick.” P.R. responds, “We have a direct line to God here son” (Did he just touch his ear?).
Walking out of church I stand in line waiting to shake hands and hug Preacher Rick. It was a nice afternoon. It had been a thought provoking Sunday service. Deep in thought I hear, “Well, if it isn’t my sweet mother!” I blush as I hug and kiss my son, Preacher Rick.
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