Thursday, March 11, 2010

Religion: Earth Angels

When I got home from work last night, my wife, who had gotten there before me, called me into the kitchen. Listen to this, she said, and pushed the button on our old wood-burning answering machine that sits next to the fridge.

My name is Erica, said the voice that emerged from the static. Erica went on, without providing any additional personal information, to encourage us to go to our Bible and read Revelations 21: 3-4. We would profit, she said, from the hope it would provide in these trying times.

Strange, I said to my wife, and turned to go. Wait, she said, there’s another one. The second messenger identified herself as Helen. Her message was similar in content to that of her predecessor. But while Erica had been well-spoken, and probably African American, Helen spoke rather haltingly, in distinctly White Appalachian cadences, and wandered around a bit in getting to her point. The scripture that she was promoting was Psalm 37:10-11.

Play it again, I said to my wife. What for? she asked. I said that I wanted to write the citations down, so that I could go look them up in one of my Bibles. You’re kidding, she said. I’m not, said I. (Who’s that giggling?!) So I went down to my “den” in the basement and grabbed the first Bible at hand, which happened to be the NIV. The verses below, however, are clipped from an online KJV that I have bookmarked.

Erica’s verses are:

Revelations 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

And Helen ‘s message is contained in:

Psalm 37:10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Helen’s prefatory remarks had left little doubt that it is the recent devastating earthquakes, and the global financial crisis, combined with the wars and rumors of war, that have given rise to this campaign of telephonic evangelism. I would be lying if I didn't admit that the same thing had crossed my mind. (Stop that snickering, dammit-all!) I had not, however, generally been left with the feeling of hope brought to me by these two messengers, the first representing the New Testament, and the second, the Old. Thank you, Erica. God bless you, Helen.

(Go ahead and laugh, you sophisticated bastards. I guess you’re pretty sure that you know what an angel would sound like on the telephone, huh?)