What woke me from a dead sleep was a horrible off-key symphony of sirens; the kind of jolting, disconcerting noise that can catapult a person from dreamland right into instant fight or flight mode. The sound and smell of disaster shrouded my village in an unmistakable crisis. I ran outside, thinking my feet were bare, but when I looked down I was wearing sturdy looking protective boots.
Every size, shape and age of persons slogged through the rising tide of what can only be described as raw sewage. A covering of the nasty mess was smeared over each one I saw. I inspected my own arms and was thrilled to see what appeared to be the clean skin I had when I said my prayers last night.
I joined the slow moving procession, hoping someone would know what was happening. The crowd’s tolerance and lack of panic was almost eerie. It made no sense. An older lady kept pace beside me. Her boots looked like mine and her skin seemed clear. She looked over and smiled with great tenderness. Then, with absolute spiritual clarity, I knew what this meant…I just knew.
It was too late, of course, but something in me yearned for a last minute push to save at least a few, if I could get them to listen. The elderly woman spoke.
“Do you notice how forceful the swampy surge becomes when we pass certain places? Why couldn’t it have been this obvious before?”
She was right. As the group grew in numbers and plodded toward the end of the line, large gushes of new cesspool substance roared out of doorways--from government buildings to movie theaters; from television stations to schools. The biggest surprises came from the bubbling and spewing around churches, temples, houses of so-called worship. Still, no one turned back. They just marched on as if hypnotized.
I offered to assist the kind lady but she refused. “No thank you, dear. This is a trip each has to make on his own.”
For a moment, in my desire to intervene, I had forgotten.
Morning had just begun but the light was fading fast. Other boot-wearing bunches gravitated to the right side of the road and joined us. One man in thigh-high waders declared he had a plan. He jumped up on top of a stalled bus and began to shout.
“Can’t you people see what is all over you? Can you not smell the garbage and recognize the trash…the futility?”
The robot-acting throng ignored him, so he yelled louder.
“You only have a few minutes! There is a way to be washed and set free. PLEASE, PLEASE LISTEN.”
The man’s voice was a belated, useless cry in the wilderness of deaf humanity. Finally, one frightened young mother found the strength to break away from the ignorant herd. A thin layer of foul goop stuck to her as she carried a sleeping infant and whimpered like a pitiful, sick dog, “Help me!”
The Good Samaritan leaped down from his platform and began to share the plan with her. She grasped the meaning of Salvation, confessed, repented, and accepted the lifeline offered. Boots for walking through the flood of fatal sewage appeared on her feet--and on the baby’s. She was thankful. She was safe.
The tears she wept screamed from the depths of her very soul as she questioned us with searing righteous indignation. “Why hasn’t someone told me this before now?”
I made a weak attempt to speak for my small congregation but it sounded pathetic. “We DID try. You laughed at the Truth. You wouldn’t listen. You turned away.”
As my group tripped along, cloaked in the false belief we were spotless, we began to notice something sticky and odiferous starting to cling to us. It was oily and sickening and we found it hard to breathe.
Near the end of the journey, a few of us boot-folks acknowledged the disgusting reality of our own S-I-N and shouted, “We’re sorry our eyes were blinded with doses of religiosity. We excused worldliness and did not accept the Great Commission as serious life-saving business. Father God, forgive us!”
A beautiful Red Sea parted just in time, but sadly, fewer than I would have thought rushed to pass through the cleansing Blood of Jesus.
I did not look back, although I heard the horde of mesmerized and lost humans tramping on by the only way of escape, laughing and anxious to play; stinking and not knowing it.
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