They stood arm in arm; brothers and sisters banded together by virtue of character and devotion to truth. The bodies of the faithless lay scattered at their feet, as far as their eye could see....smouldering remnants of the personification of mortal sin, thousands of years of creation lay dying in streets and synagogues, under tables overturned in the earthly manifestation of the temple of our lord.
The sky spread itself wide against the blackness of night, revealing golden, celestial lights ruddied with flame. Rockets burst in the air; pyrotechnic displays of unmitigated power showered the land with embers of great vengeance and cinders of furious anger. These brothers and sisters, these chosen faithful, gazed with wide eyed wonder at the revelation that laid before them. Was it heaven or Las Vegas lying atop smoky clouds, arched back, writhing, wide open and waiting before them?
Deafened by the roar of holiest wrath, blinded by reflections of 3,000 years of original sin, the Chosen stood frozen amidst waves of destruction, awaiting the siren call that would part these seas of earthly rebirth and beckon them home. With hearts filled with righteous indignation and heads clouded with mortal doubt, they searched the private inventories of their lives for the balance sheets of validation.
Accounting for the price of discretion against the sum of virtue, each one of the Last weighed the accumulations of a mortal life riddled with yearnings of the flesh. The stolen cigarette after imbibing more of the blood of Christ than was necessary for that day's redemption, a hidden embrace shared by star cross'd lovers overcome by the beauty of God's creation, a secret birthday wish for a child denied by God yet delivered by science, a plainly-wrapped gift laid out on the 25 of December without word or mention...these machinations of the devil, these manifestations of the inherit weakness of the human condition, these were but the lessons in humility on the quest to holiness. These must be the speed bumps on the road to Christ-like perfection.
Should one more doorbell have be rung early on a Saturday morning, annoying another lost soul into salvation? Perhaps another pamphlet could have been printed, left abandoned in a public laundry room to find its way to the right hands, the right heart, the right flock? “Maybe” is a four letter word reflected against the smoke and mirrors of belief that refuses to manifest itself, devotion hung solely on a cloak of perfect faith wrapped around a world, a body, a soul doused with the shit and booze and semen stains of temptation and desire.
Together they stood, bound to one another in arms, in faith, in belief in what was laid to rest this day and what will be born from the ashes of that life. As the world reduced like a cheap burgundy sauce over the heat of the lake of holy fire and brimstone swelling around them, they waited for the salvation promised to them after a life of near-perfect devotion to a God who’s face they’d never seen but who’s hand was in plain view on this, the most prophetic of the Last Days.
One meek voice lifted itself high to the heavens, singing praises to the Lord, and soon those brothers and sisters who by now numbered in the thousands all joined in raucous song, drowning out the chorus of destruction all around them, assuaging the wait until the moment that their heavenly Father would open that righteous hand and lead them home to the Promised Land. Fear began to seep in through the cracks of the hymns, restlessness soon took foothold upon the mount the congregation occupied. A faint murmur was spoken and extinguished by the throngs. Another was not so quickly put out. As the thousands of brows, turned upward to heavens, dripped with salty sweat and ash, the harmony of the songs devolved into desperate pleas, cries out to the heavens.
A shout resonated out, “Dear Jehovah, our father, our God, don not forsake us!” “We are here, Jehovah; we are waiting for you!” another voice beckoned into the darkness. The cries to God, to Jehovah, to heavenly Father, they grew louder...reverberated off the fallen buildings and smoldering bodies, filling the war-torn sky with an awful din of desperation.
With rapturous instancy, the skies went silent. The air stood still and calm, the remainder of creation came to attention in a celestial vacuum of time and space that enveloped the world for just a moment. With eyes raised to the Lord in silent deference, the final few looked into the black clouds parting before them, peeling open to reveal glorious golden light from above.
A singular whistle rang in the sky, bringing these brothers and sisters to their knees. A deep boom..sonic, shocking, rang out and filled the air. One small beacon of light rose high in the air, the pinpoint of redemption, and the Chosen followed it with eager eyes as it rose high, then began to decend upon their waiting brows.
That stream of red light grew closer, and wider, and bigger until the flames covered an expanse further and wider than any mortal could see or dream, and as it drew so close that the heat of it sucked the very air out of the world, a voice sent shockwaves to the core of the earth. This voice, the voice they’d waited a lifetime for, the voice that some secretly doubted would ever be heard, it filled every space and void with divine power.
“I TOLD you not say my name. Sheesh.“