Good morning, y’all. Well, now there’s something new to complain about. The pollen levels have reached unheard of levels in our area. Everything is covered with a layer of yellow that is deep enough to write your name in. I’m trying to keep breathing to a minimum, but so far, it’s not working. Daily doses of Claritin and hourly ingestions of Hall’s cough drops are keeping me vertical, but just barely. A few Biblical like rains would clear the air.
Speaking of things Biblical, I need to finish up the telling of Sunday’s double feature of The Full Gospel Original Church of God. After watching the Right Reverend Dale E. Bread do his altar call and perform his testament of faith, I scooted out of the service at the “Little Church in the Valley” and headed back here to TackyToo. But, before firing up my DVR to watch the services from the Crystal Palace, I needed to fire up my Big Green Egg. I loaded two big fat hens on my Big Green Egg sitting on special “beer cans” filled with spices and vegetables. Since I wasn’t going to get my special Sunday lunch, I figured I’d make a special Sunday dinner. Satisfied that the temperature was just right for a four cook, I settled into the big easy chair in the office. I was more than curious as to what the Reverend Helen Handbasket would bring to an Easter service.
The broadcast from Channel 99 in Blairsville started with a camera panning the outside of the Crystal Palace and settling on a shot of a crowd of people watching the service on the big screen mounted on the broadcast truck. I would guess that there were a hundred or more souls crowded in around the truck, trying to capture as much of the live experience as they could. I expect that the followers felt like some of the magic might rub off on them, even though they were two hundred feet or so from the altar.
The camera switched to inside the auditorium to where the overhead shot showed a crowd that was standing room only. I can only imagine what the Blairsville Fire Department might think of this scene. People were packed cheek to jowl, and I suspect there would not have been room for me even if I had decided to attend. No one wants to sit next to a fat man in an airplane, and this was just that bad. It was really, really crowded in the sanctuary.
The house lights dimmed, and then “poof”, there she was. Under the light of one lonely spotlight, the Reverend Helen Handbasket stood with her arms raised heavenward. The Reverend was adorned in purple robes that looked like they were shiny like satin. Her sash was white, trimmed in gold, with gold tassels on the end. Her red hair was especially airy, and caught the light reflecting from the spot as it followed her to the pulpit. As she reached the pulpit the house lights came up and the choir began to sing “Are You Washed In The Blood”.
If there was ever an audience that was dialed in from the get-go, this one was. It was as if the Reverend Helen Handbasket had somehow reached out telepathically to send her message into the soul of each member of the audience. As the Reverend retold the story of the rebirth of Jesus, the crowd followed in rapt attention. If the Reverend looked to the right to see where the stone from Jesus’s crypt had been rolled back, the crowd looked right. When the Reverend raised her arms Heavenward beseeching the Lord, the crowd raised their arms. It was like watching a symbiotic relationship with the crowd drawing their energy from the Reverend. When the Reverend gave the audience a promise of cleansing all of their misdeeds, a rebirth if you will, the audience heeded her call. As the choir began to sing “Just As I Am”, the crowd rose as one and crushed to the space in front of the altar.
I’m guessing there was a hundred souls crowded into a two hundred square foot area, with more trying to enter. All of the folks were doing the “tap dance for Jesus”, and some had Glossolalia. A few of the acolytes had become so spirit filled, that they were rolling about on the floor oblivious to the rest of the world. The crowd was packed so tight, trying to get close to receive the Reverend’s blessing, that the testament of faith was cancelled. I can’t say that cancelled is the right word. The two guys charged with delivering the box of serpents to the Reverend could not get through to her. The crowd was packed in that tight.
Honestly, I can’t say that anyone should feel cheated by the change in the program. Maybe Channel 99 will complain. We’ll just have to watch the comments section on their website. I’m sure that the testament of faith plays better to a TV audience, particularly one that would never consider darkening the doors of an Evangelical church. Some of those TV folks might feel cheated by the loss of witnessing a woman wrangling poisonous vipers. I know I don’t. This was a Hall of Fame performance, it there is such a thing for Evangelical preachers.