Good morning, y’all. We’re expecting some more storms to head our way today. Looks like we’ve got a chance for rain right on through the weekend. That’s fine, it keeps the heat down and helps the garden grow. I’m hoping to have a bumper crop of tomatoes and basil this year. I add some mozzarella cheese and balsamic vinegar to make the best Caprese salad in these parts. You might have to go all the way to Rome, Italy not Georgia, to find a better Caprese salad.
I’m also real handy in turning my basil into a fantastic pesto sauce. Last year I made six quarts. I had enough to give some away and then freeze the rest. I froze it in those little half-cup containers. A box of pasta, a container of Pesto, and your favorite Parmesan cheese, and you’ve got a great meal for two. Slip in the Caprese salad and a nice loaf of bread and you can put the romance in to a meal that is quick and easy to fix. Who says I’m not continental?
I guess I’ve kind of got Italian on my mind while I’m thinking about the origins of the Pentecost and what it means to the members of The Full Gospel Original Church of God. For those of you who are uninitiated, the Pentecost refers to the occasion of the visitation of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, and the other early Christians, after Jesus had ascended into Heaven. It’s a big deal in our church; but visitation by the Holy Spirit is not limited to just one day. The Spirit can visit at any time or hour, and most members think the Spirit’s just waiting for us inside the church from one time to the next. The Pentecost is just like celebrating Christmas each year. The first Christmas was special, and thereafter we’re just celebrating the event.
Anyhow, I queued up the DVR to see what special magic the Reverend Helena Handbasket was going to bring to the faithful in the Crystal Palace. Not having any tomatoes yet, I had to opt for two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a Mountain Dew to keep my stomach from grumbling over the telecast. I’d hate to miss something important because stomach was making noise, so I brought along a bag of Oreos, just in case. “Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it”, I always say.
Well, the touchy-feely opening to the telecast from Channel 99 in Blairsville put me in a peaceful mood. Good thing too, since my heart was still racing from the antics of Little Devin. The cameras cut inside to the ceremony, and the choir opened up with “Faith of Our Fathers”. The Reverend Helena Handbasket materialized on the stage and then wandered over to the corner of the stage. I’m going to assume they had given her a personal microphone to use, because I could hear her just fine, even though she wasn’t standing behind the pulpit. Maybe they had a boom mike overhead, it just wasn’t visible in the shot. The Reverend was dressed in a blood red robe with her customary white sash with gold trim. Her fiery red hair looked more “poofed” out than usual.
The Reverend started her sermon talking about the Pentecost, describing the early days of Christianity. She spoke in a rather matter of fact voice, like she was giving a Sunday School lesson to a group of grammar school kids. She described how the Apostles were kind of at a loss for what to do next after Jesus had ascended. They were reflecting on their next moves when the Spirit came upon then. The Reverend quoted Acts 2:1-6, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.” Well, obviously this is right up the Evangelical’s alley. The Reverend was “preaching to the choir”, as the saying goes.
Just in case the viewers were not convinced by her words, the Reverend had arranged a visual aid to help the faithful. There appeared to be a reflecting substance embedded in the Reverend’s hair that gave off the appearance of a flame when struck by whatever light the stage crew was using. I can only imagine how it looked in person. It looked fantastic on TV. I watch a lot of Sci-Fi and I don’t think I’ve seen the technique used before. I’ll have to Google magic tricks when I get a chance, although magicians are not supposed to give up their secrets.
Well, since Pentecost is one of the times communion is served at The Full Gospel Original Church of God, the line went out the doors of both aisles with acolytes lining up to receive the “body of Christ”. You would have thought the church was giving away free double quarter pounders with cheese, not an oyster cracker. The communion took the place of the usual altar call and testament of faith, so I can’t comment on the Reverend Helena Handbasket‘s serpent wrangling skills this week. She seemed to be spot on with everything else, so I’m guessing there would have been no flubs. From the looks of things, the faithful didn’t look like they felt like they had been cheated.
I know I felt like I was about to burst. I’m sure I wasn’t filled with the Spirit, but I sure was filled with something.