“This is the end!”
Becky’s eyes widened as she soaked in the implication of what she saw. Moist palms covered her ears in a futile attempt to block the senses, as her heart threatened to burst out of her chest.
A white haired lady paused to follow Becky’s gaze to the top of the Town Hall, then shuffled off muttering something about shoving those hooligans over the edge, defacing our cities heritage with their trash!
But Becky’s eyes remained transfixed on the giant, scarlet letters splashed across the public building, dripping like blood down the stone work.
‘AD 2012. THE END OF THE WORLD!’
The panic subsided and equilibrium restored, but tangled sensitised nerves were very much alive and plotting the next attack.
Becky recalled the very day when the devil fired his first arrow of fear.
An impressionable teenager, invited to a youth group by smiley, squeaky clean youths, prowling the streets in search of lost souls to devour. The boy was good looking and charming, the girl was flattered and easily won over. And off she went!
The church hall sported a banner saying, ‘JESUS SAVES.’ So she asked the question,
By the time they’d finished with her, she had no doubts that she was the scum of the earth, on the wide road to hell. She would need to, ‘get saved,’ preferably there and then lest she be hit by a truck on the way out.
“And here’s all you have to do ... repeat the sinner’s prayer after me.”
She did! And so returned home that evening one very bewildered and frightened young lady.
Mum was concerned!
“Hope you’re not thinking of visiting that Mission Hall on Sunday? You be careful Becky. They talk to ghosts down there!”
Becky laughed out loud.
“Mum I’ve met a gorgeous boy. I’m sure Danny will watch out for me.”
The service began. A bald man thumped and swayed on the piano. A sea of big hats began to sway around the room as upraised hands and voices reached out to God, chanting and singing in prayer and strange mutterings. Becky shot a questioning glance at Danny.
“It’s the spirit.” he whispered, holding tight her hand.
“The spirit, He’s moving among us.”
The large lady in front began to babble like a drunken baby, to cries of
“Amen Lord Jesus, come spirit come,” and the bald man hyped the atmosphere with evocative melody.
In two strides Becky had cleared the row of chairs and was out the door, leaving nothing but a trail of dust!
Time passed. Becky moved on. One day, she answered the door to two smartly dressed characters carrying briefcases.
“May we leave a copy of our booklet?” they asked.
“Thank you.” smiled Becky. “How kind.”
A strategically placed foot kept the door ajar.
“Can you tell me what you make of the events in today’s world? The man asked politely. “Do you notice the headlines and the news coverage around the globe?
Earthquakes, famines, wars and pestilence, breakdown of family and society?
Signs of the times! ... Jehovah’s little flock! ... Kingdom Hall! ... End of the age! ... May we come inside and study with you?”
The adrenaline pumped, sensitised nerves rose to the occasion, and the choking sensation began!
Becky slammed the door and raced up the stairs. From under the bed she dragged a large, dusty suitcase. Inside laid a precious relic from Grandma’s home.
“I want you to have this Becky, when I’m gone. Keep it safe.”
As Becky carefully removed the delicate layers of aged linen, tender memories began to soothe like balm. The little girl sitting on Gran’s lap, hands together eyes closed, as Gran taught her to say,
“Gentle Jesus meek and mild,”
With care, she placed Gran’s beloved painting upright on the shelf.
“Look upon a little child,”
Jesus, sitting in the moonlight on the Mount of Olives, looking out over a sleeping town; Calm; Serene; Powerful; In control!
“Pity my simplicity.”
Crushing emotions brought on the tears as she blurted out the words from her heart.
“Suffer me to come to thee.”
Becky stood in God’s presence, in complete silence and collectedness, alert and unstriving, without hoping for some mystical experience!
Then in the silence of the heart she heard the Word of all life whisper,
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
(1 Corinthians 14:33)
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