“Against the Antichrist,” he said, pausing to look at each and everyone person in the room, including me, “and the false light he brings to those that believe in man’s hell paving intentions. We are fighting against those who believe in the inherent goodness of man.”
“Amen,” nodded another man seated across the aisle from me.
“But we here, tonight, in this congregation,” the pastor continued, closing his big black and gold Bible and picking it up with his right hand, “believe only in the one true God, Jehovah, who gave his only begotten son so that we sinners could be given another chance at eternal life!”
“Hallelujah!” cried a young woman seated in the front row, her long blond braid swinging from one side of her thin waist to the other as she rocked from one foot to the other, her red pocket-sized Bible held fast to her bosom.
“Because we know the difference, oh Lord!”.
“Amen!” called out a familiar voice, and I looked up and saw Dad with his head bowed, eyes shut and palms raised toward the ceiling.
“Yes, siree,” Brother Mike seconded in the same exact pose.
“We know the folly of man’s pride,” the pastor growled under his breath, gathering himself for the next surge of fire and brimstone coursing through his soul.
“That we do,” Sister Cheryl added, her huge owl eyes sealed tight behind her big bifocals.
“And the folly of his flesh!” roared the pastor, swinging his heavy book onto the hapless podium, and anyone else still in their seats leaped up as if the Devil himself thrown lava on them.
The woman up front clutched her little red book up above her head and started running in place. Her braid whipped around like a pinned down snake as she muttered things to God or herself or who knows.
“Hallelujah!” shouted the pastor, then he walked over and took her by the shoulders.
She froze. We all did.
Then the young man of God slowly moved his meaty fingers of his right to her forehead, bracing himself as if getting ready to push one of Dad’s big eighteen wheelers—something I myself had tried on more than one occasion.
“Oh, Lord,” he began, “grant me the power to fight off the demons tormenting Sister Alice’s soul tonight and every night. What kind of havoc, dear Lord, have they wrought in her life? In her family's life, oh Lord? Only you, sweet Jesus, can help us in this fight.”
“Amen,” Brother Mike whispered with a smile.
“And so we ask that you send that Serpent back to the woeful prison that you yourself built, oh Lord. That pit of hell!”