Good morning, y’all. Another gorgeous day here in the mountains. This is kind of how I would think Heaven would be, if I gave credence to the belief of a hereafter. One thing is for sure, every day would be an “11” on the Whiz O Meter. Not being subjected to the weather drones from Channel 11 might be enough to qualify as Heaven by itself. I don’t need streets made of gold, or Heavenly choirs filled with seraphim. I just need moderate temps and I’m good to go.
The warmer weather has brought out a host of wildflowers along side of the highway into Blairsville. The dogwood and cherry trees are blooming and some of the Azaleas are showing their color. It was very rejuvenating to witness the greening up of the countryside as I headed into the services at The Full Gospel Original Church of God. I’ve missed the last two weeks at the Crystal Palace and I didn’t want to give anyone the impression I was playing favorites. While I have a monetary interest in the success of the Right Reverend Dale E. Bread, it is the Reverend Helen Handbasket’s brand of fire and brimstone that interests me. The Reverend Helen Handbasket has raised the bar for all of the preachers in this area, and her burgeoning congregation is the proof.
I got started a little bit earlier this week than usual. I wanted to see if I could actually get a spot in the parking lot, rather than walking from downtown Blairsville. As luck would have it, I snaked a space right as one of the gofers for Channel 99 was pulling out. I parked right next to the broadcast truck. I speculate the gofer was headed out for coffee, and it will probably be a long walk for him when he gets back. If I continue to feel guilty about snaking the space, I’ll offer up some supplication at the testament of faith. Generally these twinges don’t last long, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be over it by the end of the service. There are times when a failing memory comes in handy.
Mulva was waiting in our usual place, and I took my seat next to her on the aisle. We had the opportunity to chit chat and say hello to our pew neighbors before the lights dimmed, signalling the start of the show. The choir began singing “Faith of Our Fathers” in one voice as the congregation looked to the stage for the arrival of the Reverend Helen Handbasket. As she has done since the move to the Crystal Palace, the Reverend Helen Handbasket appeared as if by magic on the stage. I reminded myself again to search for a trapdoor when I get the opportunity. I’m fairly sure that the Reverend Helen Handbasket has not mastered the art of transmutation. If she has, that’s pretty miraculous by itself, if not, there has to be some physical reason that she appears so suddenly on the stage.
The Reverend Helen Handbasket is decked out in a lavender robe with white sash, trimmed in gold. I’m thinking the lavender robe must be some sort of tribute to Prince, who is still dead by the way. I know, no need for sarcasm, but the blurring of the lines between celebrities and deities has gone way too far for my taste. I have no problem revering the works of those who do good deeds and raise up those around them. I don’t know that I can name any rock stars that fill that bill. Maybe there’s a soup line somewhere or rehab facility being funded by Prince royalties. I promise to look into that.
The title for this week’s sermon was “Thieves in the Temple”, and I don’t recall having heard anything like it before. There were some references to the dishonest politicians and corrupt government officials stealing from the poor and middle class. There were also references to the dishonest people who work their way into your heart and turn out to be no better that the money changers that Jesus threw out of the temple. In my mind, it was as convoluted a sermon as the Reverend has delivered. From the folks pressing forward to take part in the testament of faith and the altar call, I was in the minority. It seemed that the majority of the folks got the message and wanted to come closer to share the “Spirit”.
Fortunately for me, I was over my twinges of guilt for stealing the parking space from the Channel 99 gofer. Since I felt no need to ask for absolution, I slipped on out of the church and cheerfully walked the fifty yards to my car. Next stop, the IHOP and all of the pancakes I can eat. Life’s good.