Sunday, May 2, 2010
SUNDAY SERMON WITH REVEREND DILLINGER
SUNDAY SERMON WITH REVEREND DILLINGER
This, my children, is a true story as most are. I have been asked and council the fine young ones who aspire to my greatness. Therefore I reveal a situation of greatness-my greatness-you are-that is, if you read last Sunday's Sermon, aware of my lady Hiawatha Hyacinth. I include my dear employee Werner, the sound man, and Dotty, his lady, simply as an adjunct which may cause mild humor in your hearts. This is an instructional sermon for those who care to learn-as to the rest of you, I have no worries for in a week you will have forgotten the true meaning of spiritual voracity.
the Reverend Dillinger Flakewaiter
I rose to the mount, surrounded by my disciples; Hiawatha Hyacinth, silver-black goddess glory, sat at my right. The devoted and the heretical sat side by side in pious silence. I raised my robed arms, my fine hands extended, a model for countless portraits; my flock imbibed of my long-haired Arian Jesusdom.
I loved my flock, was obsessed by the gift of their power. My own power came from rage, from the red, wind-blown sand that refused to cease, the burial covering that had destroyed the things I loved, creating the emptiness, love and its destruction ample fuel for my sermon’s fire.
“Poison!" My voice rolled out across the vastness of the stadium, echoing my pain, reverberating in the hearts and souls of the awed.
“Poison!” The second utterance was slower, the pause after it longer. I had studied the great orators of the century, had made my connection to them. “Musicians,” I would often remark to Hiawatha, “that’s what they were, Hiawatha. All of the great speakers were masters of tempo, of the pause, masters of the credo of up and down, of canting and recanting, of giving and taking. The words, Hiawatha,” I continued, “the words can be written by anybody, but the music, my angel, that is the demon, the god of a good speech, a good sermon, the thing that makes an audience, a congregation rupture, that makes them crazy with rage or sunlighted with love. It is all the same, my angel, it is all the same.”
“Poison! Not chemicals, not the juice of the forbidden fruit, but the root of all evil!” I leaned into the microphone, speaking barely above a whisper, enveloping my congregation in saccharine-voiced lulling. “Poison! Just a word, friends, a plate to put your food on, a place to park your car. Call it what you like, my children!” My voice raised slightly, touching the beginning of the next octave, then fell back to the not-yet. “Poison? Just a word?” The question insinuated itself softly into the ears of my listeners. “Poison is the reason you are here, my friends, the reason you have to look for a Savior whom the poison has made you deny, the Savior who lives inside each one of you?” Ebbing and flowing, the statement a question, the last word a signal to the cameraman that I was about to make the next prepared move.
I stood taller, leaning back from the dead pulpit microphone, a dummy, a foil to convince the audience that Reverend Flakewaiter's magnificent voice came directly from God and was amplified only by the power of the Lord. The body microphone which made this possible was controlled by a trained technician sitting in a sound booth.
The congregation sat up straight in their seats, rear ends slightly raised, thighs tensed, waiting for me to give them redemption, waiting to spring up and cheer their praise of the Lord and His disciple.
“Poison, my children, devil juice, the poison of hunger and thirst for God and country, for spiritual cleanliness, my children, for the untouched, unpoisoned life in the Lord you so sorely wish to live!” The technician adjusted a small dial; my voice echoed up just a little, taking on a slight metallic tinge. The more I chided my congregation, the more metal was given my voice. When I let my voice fall, settling back into a father mode, the sound technician would give it the placidity of a faithful cocker spaniel.
Werner, the sound man incidentally, was a genius with a switch. Otherwise, he was a weak, chain-smoking, Friar-Tuck-pated, ferret-faced, venal little man. His ears were so well attuned to my pacing that he no longer had to really listen; he could let his fingers do the walking through the godly Yellow Pages of the voice. I turned my arm, my wrathful index finger pointed against my congregation, so that each member of the flock felt personally singled out. Werner turned up the metal and lit up the last Camel in his pack. “Hey, Dotty!” he screamed at his assistant. Dotty Mangrove jumped up at the sound of Werner’s high-pitched voice. “Get on down to the bus, Dotty, and get me a couple more packs of cigarettes, would ya? They’re in the mike case down in the luggage compartment.” Dotty picked up her purse and handed Werner a pack of Camels. “Good on ya, Dotty, old thing!’ Werner grabbed the cigarettes out of his assistant’s hand, threw them up on top of the console, and went back to his boss’ program.
Dotty was slow, but she knew Werner was always running out of Camels, so she always kept some in her purse. Inevitably Werner ran out, and inevitably he was surprised anew by Dotty’s show of initiative, by the slight spark that still burned in her.
Werner was lucky; he had his ears and his fingers. Dotty was lucky; she had Werner. I had recognized that was all they had. I had used my knowledge to build their fidelity, bind them to me.
I panned over my audience. I raised my voice to them, my command, “Tell me of the children!” mere theatrical shaming; I knew there would be no answer. I waited. “Well, my children? What about the infants? Do they have poison in them? Do you have it? Are you feeding it to your babies?” I began to rail at my flock; Werner the sound man puffed up the volume, patting Dotty on the rear end with his other hand. “No? Is that the answer? Yes, you know it is!” I great-emancipatored my right arm; the left tucked itself somewhere into the folds of my silver robe.
Of course the truth is I was Hiawatha Hyacinth’s own personal earth devil, her own great, thick-ridged oak tree, its powers her own creation, its roots grown into her. My roots are massive water-searching things that suck at her water to replenish my spirit. She gazed up at me and shuddered, feeling the tension go out of her loins. Before the evening was over, she would feel it again and again.
“The infant child is born. He has hunger, he wails; he has thirst, he wails; he has a dirty diaper, he wails; he needs love?” I paused to let the great question sink in before Werner and I returned to the beginning of the second movement of our spiritual tone poem.
“No, children, the infant does not cry for love, because love is in him!” Subito screaming, I returned the pointed index finger, this time sweeping over the assembly from back to front. “Why are you here? Why are you like the infants? POISON!” The railing continued, the microphone now raised to peak tolerance. “POISON, the devil’s juice to make you hunger and thirst for what you already have! Poison, the confusion of your spirit by the demon that you let into you! Do you hunger? Do you thirst? The devil makes it so, tirades the doubt in you, makes you lust after the unattainable, the outside things. He forces you away from the infant, from the righteousness, from God’s perfection!”
I began weeping, shaking, I was grasping at my children. Hiawatha Hyacinth came a second time, the violence of the spasms wracking the small of her back. She gasped, grabbed her hair and pulled it hard, screaming for the glory of God, and wishing for later, when my roots would search for her water.
I slumped over the pulpit, my muscles trembling, my head against my chest. Practice had never helped me to overcome the ferocity of the adrenalin rush. Slowly my face, covered in sweat and tears, rose up again; I smiled gently at my children. “We need not hunger, we need not thirst, we must not allow the devil his due. God the Savior, the father of us all, has given us what we need. My children, he has not deserted us. He is inside each of us, right from our birth. We, his children, are one with the Lord, so why look outside? Why look to the Devil’s work?” I prayed my hands together, arrowing them straight-fingered toward heaven. I wagged my clasped hands at the congregation, tilting my head slightly to the side, becoming the father confessor, the beloved teacher of them all. My eyes became soft and loving, perpetuating gentleness, reassuring my flock that everything was going to be all right even if they were naughty sometimes.
I lowered my arms, each hand grasping an outside edge of the pulpit. “Why?” I asked gently, then paused, holding my breath, pumping up pressure to make my face turn into a blood-filled, moonlit rage. I exploded in a red rush of fury. “Because we are turning God’s world, heaven on earth, into the devil’s cesspool. And it is the fault of his own stupid, ungrateful offspring, millions of us, all whores living off the Lord and His gifts, living in drunken plenty under the raining tears of our Lord Jesus!”
Werner the sound man looked down at his crossed legs; the heels rested on the edge of the console. “Shit! I’m a stupid son of a bitch! I’ve got two different socks on!” He removed the cigarette from between his lips, surreptitiously lowering his legs so that Dotty would not notice his feet. While he controlled the ups and downs of my voice, Werner the sound man tried to figure out how he was going to get Dotty into bed without her discovering his two different-colored socks.
I repeated the question. “Why are you coming to me?” Once again, I looked and waited for the reply I knew would not come. “Get out of here! I want you to stand up and get out of here! Go up to the mountains, go down to the seas, go to the forests, go to each other, my children, and stare at it all, stare at yourselves and stare into the face of God!”
No one left the stadium, no one moved a muscle; Hiawatha Hyacinth strained to hold herself back. I was not afraid of losing my congregation to my demands; I knew they were a gutless lot, knew they would soon, after the temporary flight of stratospheric spiritual fantasy, settle back down into being the miserable weaklings I knew they were. “Do not wait for the train to come, my children. Do not stand and hope it won’t pass you by! Look to yourselves, and let the Lord guide you. Do not ask the questions outside, do not try to satisfy hunger or thirst outside, do not look for the righteousness of the Lord outside! He is within us, children; there are no questions to be asked, he is here, just waiting for us to call him up!” My face lit up with the joy of great discovery, the simplicity of the truth. Werner the sound man turned up the happy voices of the celestial choir of angels. Hiawatha Hyacinth stretched, vaginal exhaustion rendering her nearly unable to stand and sing along with my thunderous baritone. I was exalted; once again my audacity was rewarded with the love I crave. I sang louder, celebrating man’s incredible gullibility, his own blaspheming of the truth