Jul 18, 2005

In this manner, III

We were just sitting there, waiting. Four of us boys sitting out in a couple of aisles waiting for the people and the preaching, for the singing and the praying and the coming down movement of the spirit.

The hall was rented for the revival, empty, with the chairs set in lines and one aisle leading forward. The room was waiting, waiting for a revival, for revivals can start anywhere, in the place you’d least expect, the spirit blowing where it will in tongues like fire. Like the revival in Wales, where the whole town stopped working and sleeping and everything to let holiness come in crashing in the sounds you’d least expect. Like Azusu Street. Like the Great Awakening. Like where Jonathan Edwards would only preach in a monotone so nobody’d be swayed by mere human theatrics, by just words, where he preached about that spider dangling spindly from the web of his own making over a lake of fire.

The microphones were wired up, waiting the words of God. We were just sitting there, antsy. We looked at each other and at the beige chairs in empty rows back to the double doors, and then again at each other. The shushed flapping of the ceiling fans set a slight stir in the air.

They’d been talking about tonight for a month. Now was the time. God was ready to move, to blow breath down, just waiting for us and for this room. They’d talked about battling flesh and battling spirits, about the wars of the realms and the feeling of God’s anticipation. The time was ready, waiting for tonight.

Someone’d gone to the airport to pick up the revivalist. We’d been talking about him a lot and what God had been speaking back in Arkansas about how he said to be open, waiting upon the spirit’s movings and sayings and the sounds that you couldn’t expect.

One mic up front, for the revivalist who was coming in. One in the aisle, for testimonies. Two on the side, for the music. The room vibrated with the silence of expectation.

Then the one boy stood up, letting his hand come up to rub his chin and he stood there sort of staring at the stage. We looked at him. He stepped out into the aisle and he went up to the revivalist’s mic and leaned in, stooping, cupping his hand around his mouth and the mic.

eeeeeeEEERRRG CHboukh BOUKH, he said and the mic played loud in the empty room and it sounded exactly like a bomb shell whining in over rows of trenches to explode in dirt and blood and noise. We jumped, each getting a microphone and leaning in, stooping down to cup our hands and send out arching whines and exploding noises. It was an all out sound effects war. The little kid did a machine gun ut ut ut ut ut ut ut ut ut and the shelling noises all came back verberating off the white walls, in chaos down around our heads.

That’s when the revivalist walked in, when the parents walked in and started shouting to stop, shouted our first and middle names. We stopped, and stood there. A stern silence settled down.

They stared at us, faces stuck in states of shock. We stared at the carpet with that sinking feeling of having fouled the whole thing.

(See part 1 and part 2.)