Inner Bliss

December 1, 2009
The church was almost a mockery to God. It had the appearance of a downtrodden jail from an era when cowboys and Indians still fought. August steadfastly marched toward the west; bringing tumbleweeds, shiny spur boots, and the scent of stale sweat. The harsh light amplified all the flaws over the Church. The building stood indecisively upright; the brick was crumbling to dust, the cheap paint fell off in large flakes. A big, metal cross protruded in front of the Church walls. There were only two rectangular windows; small, barred, and covered with a layer of dust, they were used to look at all of His creations. The sidewalk was littered with debris. Candy wrappers, beer bottles, and black scum marked their territory in front of the Holy place.

It was Sunday morning, and the sun had burst out of the pale sea shelled colored clouds and illuminated the world. The imperfections of humanity were magnified; no longer could the creatures of greed, lust, and jealousy hide beneath the darkened shadows. Surprisingly, a small handful of fallen angels walked determinedly to the Church. It was God’s day, these people reasoned; it was time to worship. The women wore long laced dresses and their white pillbox hats; the men wore black suits and their shiny, midnight colored loafers; the children wore patched worked clothing that squeezed too tight over their skin. With lopsided grins and inexhaustible energy, the children danced and skipped, half hoping their itchy clothing would loosen with enough effort. Parents rebuked their young and the sprightly children silently obeyed. Mothers clutched their offspring while their strained, tea-colored eyes darted cautiously over each movement made in the street. They were suspicious of the promiscuous women that walked the streets, and of strange men that conversed in low, hushed whispers. Middle aged men and women herded their young into the double church doors; and the elderly, with their regal faces, walked slowly behind them.

It was God‘s day, but people still died from another’s hand, young adults still stole without regret, and wide-eyed children still lost their innocence. The pure white clouds thickened and blinded God’s eyes from the sins being performed below. Outside, you could hear enthusiastic voices repeating after the pastor. Gleeful shouts of “Hallelujah” and “praise God” were muffled from behind the thick, oak doors. You could imagine inside this church the sparkling eyes of the audience as they stood and swayed. Stirred by the pastor’s shouts of heaven, God, and purity they were almost uncontrollable.

The genial wind was forming into a growling gale. The temperature was sinking slowly. You only noticed the chill when the wind sighed over you. From behind the church doorway, you could hear the shuffling of feet and the excited buzz of voices. The oak door started to reverberate and pulsate from the rising crescendo of sound inside. The singing was out of tune, clashing with the masculine voices of men and the high pitched shouts of women and children. Yet, it was beautiful, and it would have been even more breathing taking to watch. Imagine three dozen unique voices filled with fanatic devotion and purity of faith. Then imagine each voice explode into song, bursting with their secret hopes and joys into one united sound. It was mystical and magical; it was almost the voice of God.

A man passed by the church doors and halted to hear the cacophony of music. His brown coat was stained and needed to be hemmed, his black hair wild and greasy, his face was covered with shadowy stubble, and his eyes looked gaunt. This haunted man looked like a lost soul. His eyes were almost closed, fluttering with each rise of the voices inside. His lips mouthed the words they sang and his soul seemed content with this moment in time. The saintly voices did not stutter when the loud screams of a police siren passed by the church doors and sped toward its grisly destination down the street. Then suddenly the voices stopped their symphonic melody and the man was ousted from his trance. The gospel was finished. He looked startled for a moment and walked drunkenly onward.

The sky was turning colors. The shades of blue were turning darker each moment and almost took the tint of a rich, midnight black. The clouds were no longer pure white, but a thin transparent gray. The voices were hushed, tensed; the slow shuffling of feet was heard. The wind was now fierce and it battered on the doors, screaming to be let in. The door burst open and men, women, and children steeled themselves against the gale. Children clung tightly to their mothers in fear of being uprooted by the angry draft. Mothers held on to their young, rubbing their delicate hands to give them warmth. Men acted as a shield and stood in front of their women to prevent the turbulent gusts from whipping their faces. The older generation creaked slowly along, closing their eyes from the penetrating invasion of dust and debris that were flung at them.

Rain splattered these people’s hair and left dripping dewdrops upon their faces. Filthy puddles of water formed and reared to taint their immaculate clothing. Garbage drifted down the streets, shadows hid grinning predators; humanity was masked again. The angelic glow of each person faded as they walked further away from the church. More teardrops fell upon their bowed heads; God wept.

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