Chapter Seventy Seven
Stephen pulled away from Carrie and moved to the front of the parking lot. Something different about tonight, more of a festive approach. Wonder ’bout the wisdom of having the President speak here after terrorist threats.
Last minute details were hastily arranged and before anyone was really ready, President Taylor arrived in a small convoy of escort vehicles.
Ted felt reassured as he looked around the crowd. He knew just behind the tree line, Special Forces were on hand with extra security for the President. Wouldn’t want to tangle with those guys. Might be good though, after the terrorist thing. Feels good to know they’re on hand.
Stephen shook his head in wonder. Don’t know how this’ll work. We don’t need a political agenda creeping in here.
Prearranged music started and the crowd focused on the newly built stage.
Stephen looked back at Carrie who nodded that she stood ready. He motioned to the President and the show was on.
President Taylor stepped up to the pulpit. Gesturing over to Pastor Herb and Diane he started. “Thank you Pastor Herb and Diane for inviting me here today. I am honored to be part of your service.
Let me address those people of the city of Ravenna, just below us here. So many of you lost a child, a brother, a sister, or maybe a mom or dad. Your homes, businesses, your hopes, and your dreams, have all been shattered in a matter of a few short hours.
Our nation mourns with each of you. Plus, a terrorist attack happened on these premises where we stand, trying to put an end to the buildings and good help from the little white church on the bluff. I’ve directed the appropriate agencies to assist with disaster loans and find out who these terrorists are. You will find out more about this later. Tonight you’re here for a different reason. It is my honor and privilege to turn the service over to your pastor, Herb Ashley.”
Instead of leaving immediately like everyone expected, President Taylor moved over to a special area set up just for this so he could stay and participate in the service.
Stephen turned to the mixed choir as they stood ready. Funny how this works. People here from seven different churches, now in the same choir. What’s the chance of that happenin’?
He cued the choir in and stepped back. They responded with, ’Great Is Thy Faithfulness’, and ‘He Keeps Me Singing’.
Stephen stopped and gulped as he turned to Mary for her solo. Her picture of fright galvanized him to action. He nodded to her and pasted on his best smile. Moving toward her off screen, he felt Peace move through him toward Mary.
Mary flushed as she picked up the Spirit. She turned toward him and mouthed the words, thank you. Then she whirled toward the front, leaving fear in the dust. She opened up her solo, ’Make Me a Blessing’. As her beautiful voice arched upward through the high ending, amen and alleluias rang out from the crowd.
Stephen turned back from Mary and motioned for Don and Harold to be ready. They shuffled a bit, waiting for his cue. Right in step with his point and nod, they entered the stage with boldness of step. Don took his lead. “I’d like to speak up for the little white church on the bluff. These people opened their facility to help Harold and I, plus hundreds of others, who were too shocked or hurt to help themselves. And what did they get in return? A terrorist attack trying to stop the ministry that God gave them to do, to literally blow up the buildings and supplies set out to help us. And yet, if you ask them, it isn’t about them, not at all, instead they’ll reflect attention to Jesus Christ. They have a saying here that I really like. When Harold and I get back in business, it’ll be our motto too, a saying to put on our invoices, our building, and anything else that might reflect Christ to our customers. Remember this statement America for it is what the little white church on the bluff is all about. Harold?”
Harold boldly stepped forward to join Don. Together they pointed to heaven. “Simple and true, straight from the heart, for the Glory of God.” Then they turned beaming for Christ to backstage.
Stephen looked at little Sam and caught a tremendous feeling of His Spirit with her. She skipped her way to the stage, braids flying out, then she stopped and smiled her little girl grin. “I wanted to show you how much I’ve been healed, for you see, two weeks ago, I had two broken arms and a shattered leg. How can this be? It’s Jesus. He sent the Healing angel to heal me and hundreds of others. ‘Cause I have Jesus in my heart an’ I want you to know that you can too. An’ this time I have a message for those bad men who want to stop what you see here.” She stomped her foot and pointed northeast. “God knows who you are. You will find your end here, for just as I have faith that Jesus can heal, I also know that He will protect us for His Glory. Know that He is Light and Life to all who will believe.”
Simon fell to the ground, blinded by stroke after stroke of His Light. The old man staggered and nodded… “Yes, the Light…, too strong…, to fight…” He crumpled down next to Simon on the rough path, covering his eyes. No, no, not the Light.”
Miles away, Brodine shuddered and covered his eyes as he suddenly gasped for breath. “No, no, not again. She has…, too much faith…”
Ted grabbed Rita as His Presence rolled over the crowd. “Feel that, from the mouth of a babe. God is so good. How did she know?”
Rita bowed and drank in His Spirit. “Yes Lord, thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus. She turned to Ted in Peace. “Because she has simple and pure faith, not tarnished by what you an’ I’ve been through. Now I know that we’ll be safe from whatever ’s coming. Truly I say again. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. These things must happen so that America might know the fear of the Lord.” She shook her head. “What did I just say? I feel incredible Peace flooding over me.” She leaned into Ted. “To know the fear of the Lord. Isn’t that in Proverbs somewhere?”
Ted gave her another squeeze. “Exactly. Chapter two, I think, the part about seeking His Wisdom, discernment, understanding, and knowledge. But you’re right. America needs to realize the fear of the Lord. His Spirit just gave that Word to you. From what I see, God isn’t relevant for most.” He shook his head sadly. “Nope, not at all. For most people I meet, God simple isn’t relevant to an unbelieving irreverent world. Look, the choir’s starting ’gain.”
The choir stepped up with a local old country favorite, ’I’ll fly Away’, and finished with a seriously presented, ‘It Is Well With my Soul’.
Stephen stood away from the crowd and watched. Didn’t know what to expect from this homemade show…, but this is so beyond…, beyond anything. To see the Spirit in these people. Something right about this that I’ll never forget.