“What were you thinking?” She said. “I don’t care how much money it brought in! A naked construction worker?”
“He had shorts on.” Mike retorted.
Really?” Mallory Johnson, Pastor Mike’s wife, was furious. She had known that Meadow Song would be the main event but did not know the details of how it was going to play out. The surprise had caught her completely off guard. She had been purposely distracted just before the Naked Construction Worker came out on stage to take care of a lame issue in regards to distributing parting gifts to the women. By the time she had realized what was going on, everything had gotten completely out of hand and the majority of the women had crowded the stage. Interference at that time would have caused absolute pandemonium. The women who were offended had already left anyway.
It had been a long day. The residual had been mixed through both services. Some people were upset and some thought it was great and that this church was the coolest church they had ever gone to. The bottom line was that through ticket and CD sales they had managed to raise almost enough money for the entire parking lot expansion.
Mike was numb to Mallory’s lectures and focused mainly on what was going on ahead of him on the road and out the driver’s side window. He looked in the rearview mirror. His daughter was looking out her window trying hard to remove herself from the ongoing argument. She had looked forward to seeing Meadow Song too but was also disappointed at the inappropriate exposure.
In his mind Mike was justified in his actions. His wife didn’t understand the pressures of what he was going through being a pastor. He wanted to be successful like other pastors in the area who seemed to have it figured out. Give the people what they want and they will come back, making you and your church successful. Sometimes stirring the pot got people talking.
Seven Mile Community Church’s numbers had been dropping for the past couple years. Pastor Mike accounted it to competition in the valley. It seemed like new churches were cropping up everywhere. With the bad economy and all that was going on in the world, going to church was big business. People needed to be comforted and they sure did not want to hear about Hell and Doom and Gloom. They got enough of that all week long from the news. What they wanted was a positive, uplifting message to get them through the week. He felt like he was walking a tightrope between the government and losing their not-for-profit status and the people in the church wanting to hear a good well presented message. Sunday service needed to provide an entertaining atmosphere or people were not going to stay. That is the way it was in this business.
Suddenly a car veered across two lanes of traffic in front of them. Mike slammed on the brakes and instinctively held out his right hand to protect his wife from careening forward hitting the dash, but she wasn’t there. She was gone. He looked in the rearview window and his daughter wasn’t there either. Her clothes were in the seat but she, her body, was gone. Disappeared in thin air. His heart immediately dropped realizing what had just happened. The beer truck in front of him slammed to a stop and through his shock, his response was delayed and he rear ended the truck deploying the airbag into his face. The hard cover over the steering wheel flew off with such force into his nose causing it to bleed immediately. He searched for anything to stop the bleeding and grabbed his wife’s scarf. She wouldn’t be using it any more he thought!
“Are you okay?” the beer truck driver asked.
“Yes, do you have a pocket knife on you?” Mike asked.
“Ya, here.” He said handing Mike a box cutter. “This is going to sound weird but the car in front of me t-boned another car that ran a stop sign and no one is driving either car!”
Mike cut the airbag out of the way and got out of his car. “Yes, I know. They were raptured.” Hearing those words come out of his own mouth brought everything home to him. He was a pastor. He knew the rapture would one day happen. He had taught that sermon when he was younger so many times. What had happened? He looked back at his wife’s clothes in the front seat of their car. She was gone; home to be with Jesus.
Why did this surprise him, he thought? He had led his church right through the falling away, the apostasy. 2 Thessalonians 2:3. He had taught about it when he was younger. It wasn’t like he didn’t know this period of time was coming. It was written in black and white plain as day. He had even been convicted about compromising with a watered down teaching, but still, his desire was to make the church into something big, which ultimately surpassed teaching the truth.
He said to the beer truck driver. “See? My wife is gone too. Her clothes are here but her body is gone, to Heaven, to be with Jesus.” Mike looked up towards heaven and the beer truck driver’s eyes followed in suit.
“Whoa!!! No kidding?” he said looking at Mike in shock.
“Go look to see if their clothes are lying in the front seat like my wife’s are.”
The driver headed towards the front of the truck. Mike walked over to the back of the beer truck and tested the handle. To his surprise the door opened. He stepped in and grabbed a half rack of beer.
Screw it, he thought What’s the point?
On his way back to the car he stopped, turned around and put the half rack back.
He was in a daze. The road ahead of him was so congested there was no way of getting through. He stepped back into his car and turned around slowly heading back to the church. Many people would be showing up there soon. He wanted to escape what he knew was coming upon the world any way he could. But he knew there would be no escape now.