Eloi, Eloi, Lemá Sabachtháni?
Pastor Freeman looked around first to make certain everyone was present and accounted for before securing all of the doors.
The more exclusive meetings took place in the basement of the church every Wednesday night, and so far he’d noted 13 visitors whom he’d never seen. It was permitted, even encouraged, to bring guests, as long as they were open-minded, peaceful people. In order to even be considered, they also had to be very close to their companion and someone in whom complete confidence was certain. All visitors were strongly cautioned, both by their escort and at the end of the service by Khalid, against discussing any part of the meeting with anyone outside of the circle.
The sum of attendees tonight totaled 64 regulars and 13 visitors. Khalid would be absolutely delighted and well pleased, to say the least. He and Pastor Freeman seemed to be butting heads more frequently as Khalid’s pride grew significantly by the day.
Everyone was seated in their chairs and talking amongst themselves when Khalid al-Kabul finally made his grand appearance at the podium. All of his followers greatly admired him, referring to him as the phenomenon of the times.
“Good evening fellow servants. We are all here tonight for the same reason—to find peace and love together. Every person here has a unique need and an earnest desire for something, a yearning inside for fulfillment. A number of us go to bed every night asking God, ‘Why haven’t you delivered me from this plague?’ And some of us have asked, ‘Why did I have to lose my loved one?’ Or, ‘Why have we no money to pay our bills?’ And there are so many more questions we just can’t seem to find the answers to.”
Khalid made eye contact with each and every person as he empathetically spoke. He slowly walked past, gently laying a hand on their shoulder while gazing into their eyes with depth and genuine emotion. His voice was as smooth as butter and as sickening sweet as honey, and there was something about him that had power over these people, a power so strong it was unlike anything anyone had ever experienced!Love, courage, peace, and forgiveness overflowed from their hearts at the mere sight and sound of him.
He approached one of his visitors, an elderly woman who’d been widowed for nine years. Resting both hands upon her shoulders, he began to submerge himself within the innermost private depths of her soul—searching every silent mystery she’d ever cherished in her heart.
“Nancy Elaine Hampton, my beloved sister in Allah. You’ve suffered for so long now without your loving husband, George.” Emotion so sympathetic it could soften the most calloused heart dominated his voice as a myriad of tears began to flow from his eyes, dampening his face while he spoke.
“I’m feeling your anguish Nancy, and I know George left you by way of stomach cancer. You witnessed him suffering and enduring pain so unbearable, you literally dropped to your knees begging God to heal him of this cancer! But then, as the hand of time slowly moved forward, you were made to watch him suffer all the more with no reprieve.”
Khalid was able to convey himself in such a way that gave the impression beyond doubt he was truly experiencing her personal hurts and resentments.
“Finally, you were begging and pleading with God, ‘Oh please, just take George on home Lord, I can’t stand to see him suffering like this, not for one more day!’Your Lord didn’t hear you Nancy, but my Allah did, and He took your George home nine years ago.
“Allah never left you for even a moment, and I know this to be true because He has revealed it to me. Do you see it now Nancy? George had to go for a higher purpose, and if he hadn’t, Allah wouldn’t be able to reveal such a breathtaking miracle as what you are about to witness here tonight.”
He gently kissed her cheek before extending his arms out to his sides, dropping his head backwards with his face up toward the ceiling, uttering words in another tongue no one understood.
Then he spoke boldly, in a loud and commanding voice, “George! George Hampton! Isa al-Maseeh [Jesus the Messiah] commands you to appear before us now!The time has come George, and your wife Nancy awaits at the Gate of Heavenly Mercy for your company!”
Pastor Freeman was seated in the back, staring in disbelief with his mouth hanging wide open, almost paralyzed with incredulity. Was Khalid really going to bring someone back from the dead? He’d declared in past meetings the dead would rise at his command, but it had never happened. This would by far top all of Khalid’s miracles he’d previously performed! He was truly outdoing himself tonight!
A whirlwind having an appearance like smoke materialized from out of nowhere, spiraling and twisting its way around Khalid and Nancy, as a great wind filled the previously tranquil basement. When it finally came to a halt, an elderly man became visible before the eyes of everyone present, causing little Nancy to gasp in shock and disbelief as she held her trembling hands over her mouth. Tears cascaded down her face like a waterfall as she moaned and cooed, making noises no one but Nancy could comprehend. Standing before the congregation was a man who was solid, yet clearly transparent at the same time. What everyone saw was completely and utterly inconceivable, beyond the laws of any logic ever taught in school.
Nancy cried out, “George! Oh my God! George! Is it really you? George?”
Khalid coerced her, “Go ahead Nancy, touch him and feel the man you’ve longed for over the last nine years. Go to him now, touch your husband—see and feel that he is real!”
Somewhat apprehensive, Nancy approached her husband, unsure if he was real or a dream. Everyone watched in awe as Khalid escorted Nancy, seizing her arm tenderly within his grasp, until she stood face to face with her deceased husband.
A heavenly radiance flashed across his face as he began to speak. “Nancy my love, it is really me, George! My, how beautiful and lovely you are tonight, sweetheart!” He attentively examined Nancy, his eyes swiftly moving up and down her frame while he spoke.
Nancy was rendered speechless, too shocked to know what to say. Never in her wildest dreams would she have imagined something as incredible as this.
George passionately spoke to his widowed wife, enticing her with flattery. “Oh honey, you have no idea how I’ve longed for this day! I can’t stay here very long, but we have just this brief moment together to commemorate our love. Won’t you please come to me?”
Nancy began to weep as she stepped forward, giving in to all of her fears and hesitations. She’d been starved for his affections for so long she’d forgotten how good it felt to be in his arms once again. George delicately pulled back from their embrace, taking Nancy’s face gently within his hands as he eagerly kissed her soft lips.
“I have missed you and the kids so much sweetheart, please tell them how much dad misses them and thinks of them all of the time.” He looked back at something no one else could see, and then fixed his gaze back on Nancy.
“Honey, I’m afraid I have to go now, but I’m so happy for this night and I can’t wait to be with you again someday soon! I love you more than words can describe.”
“But wait, George, do you have to go now? Can’t you stay here with me just a little while longer?” Nancy held his hand tight within hers, afraid to let go.
George sweetly smiled, “Oh honey, love of my life, if I could stay forever I would, I’m sorry. It is time for me to go back to Allah, but rest assured He is coming soon! You’ll recognize Him by the mighty miracles and acts of kindness He shall equally impart to all!”
They embraced and kissed goodbye once again. Some people watched with a blank, expressionless face, while other’s sobbed and whispered amongst themselves. George turned and walked away as if stepping into an invisible door, blowing one final kiss to Nancy before completely vanishing.
Khalid finally spoke. “Nancy, please tell everyone; was this indeed your husband George, deceased for nine years now?” Nancy, tears still spilling from her eyes, gave an audible yes.
“And Nancy, did you not feel your husband as he touched you, and as you touched him in return? Were his kisses real?” Khalid egged her on, desiring to convince his congregation of followers of his authenticity.
This time, Nancy breathlessly shouted, “Yes! Yes! Oh it was so real! He was real! I know George’s touch, his smell, his voice, and the feel of his warm breath just as a mother knows her own child! This was my husband indeed!” She cupped her face within her hands, weeping with joy.
“Thank you so much Nancy, you may return to your seat now.” He sauntered back and forth with his arms crossed behind his back, looking down at the floor before continuing his speech.
When he finally lifted his head, his countenance had transformed from humble to mighty. “Do you see now? God is love! I want you to say it out loud with me.”
“God is love!” The whole congregation shouted at once.
“Now say out loud, I believe I AM!”
“I believe I AM!”People yelled with enthusiasm and heart-felt emotion.
“Allah has more wonderful things tonight for everyone here, His work is never done. Let’s all close our eyes and put our heads down as I speak with my Father.”
Everyone did just as he’d asked. Khalid turned away from the crowd and covered his head with the hood of his white, floor-length robe, speaking in some strange, unknown language as he’d previously done, yet no one recognized it.
Shortly thereafter, he turned back to the crowd with his arms extended toward the ceiling, his head back, and eyes closed. He made fists with his hands as he cried out in a loud voice like thunder, “Eloi, Eloi, lemá sabachtháni?”
But this time, it sounded familiar to everyone as they whispered, “Isn’t that what Jesus said when He died on the cross? Doesn’t it mean, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?’ Is he claiming to be the Messiah, and is it possible our Messiah has come to lead His people?”
One man said to the woman sitting next to him, “Surely this must be the true prophet of God! How else can we explain all of his miracles?”
Khalid redirected his full attention back to his people, scanning each and every face, when he finally walked up to a middle-aged man who had come for the first time. He was standing next to his friend who’d invited him.
“Good evening Marcus Phillip Vale.”
Marcus was immediately alarmed, his best friend sitting right next to him didn’t even know his full name! Khalid had his complete attention as he stood before him wide-eyed and dumbfounded.
Khalid spoke in a knowing and self-confident tone. “Allah wants to heal you tonight of your guilt and shame—he wants to release you from every burden that weighs you down, and the only way to be healed is to confess and repent. Why don’t you tell all of your brothers and sisters here tonight what it is that eats away at you daily? Admit to the terrible thing that keeps you in bondage to drugs and alcohol, and gives you so much depression you’ve put a gun into your mouth so many times you’ve lost count—what is this thingMarcus?”
Marcus stared blankly as fear cut through him like a sharpened dagger. His mouth became paper dry as sour acid swiftly moved up the back of his throat.
“Why do you fear, Marcus? For we’ve all sinned and have fallen short of Allah’s glory. Allah wants to forgive you and free you from this inner pain and torment! Will you choose to allow Him to do so, or will you continue to live each and every day miserably teetering on the edge of yourcliff until you plummet to your death?”
Marcus trembled with immense fear as a cold sweat began forming all over his face and back.
“Marcus Phillip Vale, 12 years ago you kidnapped a little girl, and we won’t reveal her name this evening because it’s not necessary, but the little girl was only 10 years old. You pulled over in a quiet neighborhood where the houses were far enough apart, and private enough for you not to be seen. You proceeded to ask her directions, convincing her that you were lost, when in fact you weren’t; and in her innocence, she believed you.”
At this point, Marcus was about to vomit, his clothing completely soaked in sweat from head to toe, and visible to everyone.
“And so Marcus, you managed to appeal to her desire to help others by persuading her to get into your car and show you where you needed to go, with the empty promise that you’d drop her off at home afterwards. She was hopeful because she was tired, and her home was still quite far away.
“Instead, once she was in your car, you drove her to the parking lot of an old abandoned factory where you restrained her before violently overpowering her; crushing her young spirit forever right there in the back seat of your car!”
There was a hush as the congregation grew angrier by the second. A man jumped out of his seat and took Marcus by his shirt collar, apprehending him while cursing and threatening his life.
“Dan, leave Marcus alone and return to your seat at once! As a matter of fact, anyone here tonight who is without sin, let he or she be the first to cast a stone at this man!” He indignantly scanned the faces of everyone present when he fixed his eyes on Martha Worthington, a 60-year-old woman who continued speaking badly against Marcus to the woman sitting next to her. Immediately, he got her attention.
“Ms. Worthington, how is it you cannot forgive Marcus? Or shall we tell everyone some of your worst, little secrets, hmm?” He paused, staring her down as he shamed her with his eyes.
“What about the time you were in your twenties, do you remember Ms. Worthington? Just in case you’ve forgotten, allow me to remind you for the benefit of Marcus and everyone present, Martha—you had an illegal abortion!You, Ms. Martha Worthington, slaughtered your own innocent unborn child! Is this sin any greater than that of Marcus’?”
He continued pacing back and forth like a criminal defense attorney in the midst of a crucial trial.
“Please explain for me how paying someone to kill an innocent baby, while still all safe and snug within its mother’s womb, is any less of a sin than destroying a life, but allowing it to live? Or was it fair that a tiny, guiltless unborn child was butchered to death in its mother’s own womb before being tossed carelessly into a trash bag as though it were nothing more than an empty carton of milk? At least Mr. Vale allowed his victim to live!”He glared at her for a short time, flashing a devious smile before walking away.
Ms. Worthington remained unmoving with her mouth open. Completely aghast, she placed her hand over her chest, ashamedly searching everyone’s faces hoping no one had heard the truthful revelation Khalid had just spoken about her. After a few moments, she recoiled, staring down at the floor in embarrassment and humiliation.
Khalid approached yet another woman, 58-year-old Mary McGinnis who hadn’t said a word to anyone, although she was thinking of how much she hated this man named Marcus for his terrible deed.
“Mary McGinnis, what about the time when you were in your thirties—didn’t you have a lesbian affair with your female next door neighbor, in secret?And didn’t you—the righteous, conservative, and religious Mary McGinnis; the perfect mother of three, involved heavily on the PTA at their school, carry on this homosexual relationship for many years while your devoted husband and innocent children suspected nothing at all?
“Your poor husband went to work every day, slaving in a hot factory for hours on end to provide for his lovely wife and kids.”
Mary, like Ms. Worthington, stared in utter shock and embarrassment. But unlike Ms. Worthington, she was much too mortified to look around at anyone; she knew they’d heard everything. Instead, she glared down at her feet.
Pastor Freeman couldn’t believe his ears—these two women had been faithful members of his church for years! Were these things going on back then, and with all of the church picnics and activities, he never knew? Ms. Worthington and Mary had been the two most dedicated, and involved women he’d ever known! They were even Sunday school teachers at one time! He was both floored and appalled, wondering how he could’ve ever overlooked a thing like this.
“Is there anyone else who wishes to cast any stones at Mr. Vale?” He scanned the crowd with evident provocation in his pitch. “I didn’t think so.”
He continued with Marcus. “Now Marcus, where were we son? Ah yes, the little girl. After you had your way with her, you brutally beat her to a pulp and left her in the parking lot naked, restrained, and cold where no one discovered her for at least three days. It was late autumn and dreadfully cold, I believe the temperature ranged from the mid to upper thirties. She suffered from hypothermia, psychosis, and pains that are far too severe to ever be mentioned. It was a miracle in itself that she was found alive!”
He paced back and forth, glancing down in deep thought while considering every word before speaking it.
“And the reason you left her restrained was because you wanted to be sure you were far enough away before she could get any help. For months you fantasized about what you’d done, but then your fantasies turned into guilt and shame.”
He paused to lean over in front of Marcus so he could make eye contact with him, resting his hands on the back of Marcus’ chair as he firmly spoke directly into Marcus’ face.
“We need to get you over this Marcus. I know you’re disgraced and in shock right now, but I want you to trust in me, and in the end you shall have a new peace you’ve never experienced! You will finally be able to forgive yourself for what you’ve done, and then so will God! Because you see, my son, God is within you—He is within all of us!So it is within all of our power to overcome our evil natures. After all, evil is only a state of mind, as is good. We are all Gods, and so God is indeed everywhere among His children!”
He straightened himself back up and addressed everyone.
“I’m going to display for every person here the life of this unnamed woman, now 22-years-old, and how all of this has affected her over the course of her pitiful life. We’re going to begin viewing her immediately after the brutality as she lay helpless and cold in the parking lot. Then we’re going to view various clips of her life from the moment she was recovered, to this day.”
There was absolute silence as he turned away from his congregation of followers once again. This time, he didn’t call out anyone’s name; instead, he called out words in the unknown tongue. He made dramatic hand motions while clapping them together intermittently when a bright, glowing halo of light formed round about him. His face shone as radiant as the sun, so brightly that almost everyone had to put their hands up to shade their eyes.
Khalid extended both arms, his hands open, “Now behold, brothers and sisters, the victim of this terrible crime—for what I have promised has come to pass.”
The lights flickered and dimmed while everyone stared in astonishment as from the ground up surfaced a cerulean smoke, which quickly transformed into a hologram, having the likeness of a movie screen without a frame.
All at once, an image of a young girl swathed in a blanket materialized. She was lying on a stretcher as police and medics scrambled around in a rush. Suddenly, a burgundy car flew into the parking lot, squalling the tires as it turned in, when a man and woman jumped out, both obviously panic stricken. Every word spoken was clearly audible; it was similar to watching a movie, except it was as if the people were actually present in the room with them. They were transfixed by what they were witnessing, having never before seen anything like this; it was extraordinary!
“Is she okay? Oh, my baby, my baby!” The woman was crying hysterically, not knowing if this girl, who appeared to be her daughter, was okay or not. She ran up to the young girl just as the medics were lifting the stretcher up into the back of the ambulance. She was extremely disconcerted, but at the same time relieved because her daughter had finally been discovered, and she was alive.
As the parking lot scene dissolved, a hospital room emerged. This time, the same girl was lying in a bed, her dark eyes closed, with oxygen tubing placed inside of her nostrils. Her bruised and distorted face was surrounded by a silky curtain of shoulder length brown hair. Seated at the bedside was her mother, gently brushing her fingers through her daughter’s hair while holding her hand. She sadly stared down into her brutalized young face while talking to her; but there was no sign the girl could actually hear anything being said, or that she was even coherent to begin with.
“My beautiful baby girl, we’re so blessed you’re alive! Mom and dad are praying every day for you, and the doctor says you’re going to be okay. We’re going to find out who did this to you, mommy promises!” The woman was obviously crying, and her face was flushed as she leaned forward to kiss the top of the child’s forehead.
Marcus could hardly bear to watch, though he took Khalid’s advice and forced himself regardless. He was slouching in his chair with his elbows resting atop his knees, every so often dropping his face down within his hands before glancing back up. He was much too ashamed to look around and chance making eye contact with anyone; it was already bad enough he could hear people whimpering, cursing, and gasping in disbelief.
Once again, a new scene appeared as the other vanished. Now her mother was talking to her father, and the girl was nowhere to be seen. The setting had changed, and it appeared they were at home standing in their living room.
The mother was crying hysterically, “I don’t know, but she hasn’t spoken a word now in over a year! How much more counseling and psychotherapy can we provide her? If it hasn’t worked by now, it’s never going to work!” She continued expressing much grief, beating her fists in frustration against her husband’s chest.
“It’s all going to be okay honey, we’ll keep trusting in God. The whole church is praying for her…for all of us!We’ll get through this together as a family, God won’t let us down. It’s hard for me too honey, but we can’t lose our faith! God’s Word promises that if God is for us, who then can be against us?” He tried to comfort her as he grabbed her wrists and pulled her into him in an embrace.
But with a great amount of anger and resentment, she pulled away. “Trust God? TRUST GOD? If there were a God, this never would’ve happened in the first place! We’ve lost our little girl forever, and it’s entirely my fault because she went to the store for mebecause I was ill!”
The scene faded and it was replaced with a girl around the age of 14 or 15. She’d just eaten an enormous Thanksgiving sized plate of food very fast, as though she was starving to death. Afterwards, she quickly made her way to the bathroom; and while you couldn’t directly see what she was doing, you could hear audible heaving and gagging noises at the same time she was leaning over the commode.
Once again, and without notice, the scene changed to what seemed to be a group therapy session. She looked a little bit older, except now she had the appearance of a skeleton with skin stretched over its bones. She was seated in a large circle with other females of various ages, who also appeared skeletal. There was a man’s voice, although the only thing visible was the girl’s face.
“Okay, as we go around the circle I want you to read what you’ve written about yourselves—the story of your most painful experience. As you’re doing this, please try and remember that you’re letting it out, and as you’re letting it all out, you’re releasing your inner pain. After you’ve finished sharing your experience, I want you to wad it up into a tight little ball and throw it to the center of the circle.
“Okay young lady, you’re next.”
She was sadly staring down at a notebook on her lap with her arms wrapped around her midsection, nervously rocking forwards and backwards.
“When I was ten years old…” She glanced up. “Doctor, do I have to read this out loud?”
You could hear a man’s voice; however, the view remained fixed on the girl.
“It’s best if you do; not only are anorexia and bulimia ways of control, they’re also a way of ridding yourself of something that is much too painful for you to face. Why don’t you take a deep breath, close your eyes, and try once more? Take your time, and please remember we’re all friends here with similar problems. No one here shall be any means placed judgment upon you, okay?”
She set her gaze back down upon her lap where her notebook lay open. She responded with a sigh, “Okay Doctor, I’ll do my best,” before making her second attempt.
“When I was ten years old, I walked to the store to get medicine for my mom—she’d been really sick, and dad was at work. It was cold, the walk was long, and I was on my way back home when…,” she hesitated, drawing in a deep breath, “…when a man showed up in a car.” Once again, she came to a sudden halt.
She grimaced, and now her voice was thick with agony and frustration. “I’m sorry Doctor, this part’s really hard. I’ve rehearsed this by myself over and over, but I can’t seem to get past it.”
She threw her notebook onto the floor next to her as she rocked herself forward and backward, this time aggressively, while grabbing at her hair.
The man spoke soothingly, attempting to provide her some reassurance. “It’s okay, just relax and pretend you’re all alone.”
She sighed. “I’ll try one more time. A man pulled up in a car and asked me for directions somewhere. But then, I guess he talked me into getting into his car and showing him, with the promise he’d give me a ride home afterwards.” Tears began puddling within her weary eyes.
Now her expression was contorted with violence as she stood to her feet shouting in self-defense. “I swear Doctor, I was only thinking of my sick mother! I thought I could get home to her quicker; she had a dangerously high fever!” She began to weep while wiping at her eyes incessantly.
He restored confidence to her in a warm and sincere voice. “That’s good; you’re letting go of all of your anger and resentment. You were being a caring person, trying to do something nice and good for your mother, and you were worried about her, that’s all; we understand.” He paused momentarily to get up and retrieve an enormous stuffed bear, almost the size of an adult.
“Now, I want you to imagine this is the man who violated you. Say to it what you would say to him if he were here right now.”
She took a deep breath as she continued, her voice saturated with hatred and her countenance abundant with anger. She remained standing, visualizing the bear as her attacker. In her tormented mind, all she could see was the rapist’s face.
“I hate you! I hate you so much! Why did you lie to me? How could you do this to me!” She lunged at the bear and began beating it with her fists. Marcus squirmed in his chair as he witnessed her wrath, wishing somehow to drop to the ground and crawl out of the meeting without being noticed.
The girl sat back down in her chair, and there was a long pause before she continued.
She proceeded to tell her story to the group. “The next thing I knew, a fist belted me in the face hard, and I could feel a warm, wet sensation as blood poured from my nose and lips. I screamed, but no one heard, when he grabbed my hair and twisted it around his hand, jerking my head back with a violent jolt. After that, he bit my throat, and it started to bleed too. He forced me into the backseat of his car and bound my hands and feet together with ropes. I was throwing myself around, trying so hard to escape, but every time I tried, he’d punch me in the face again.
“When he took out a large knife, I screamed as loud as I could. He threatened me and tormented me with it first before he cut my clothing off of me.” She stopped, silently staring into nothingness. When she finally spoke again, it was as if all of time had stopped.
Her face was grave, and her lips quivered uncontrollably. “Then, he raped me. All I remember next was being tossed out of the car like trash onto the gravel; cold, naked, and bleeding. When I hit the ground, hunks of rocks and dirt went into my mouth and nose; I couldn’t get it out because I was still restrained. I remember swallowing and gagging and…” She paused, but not quite as long this time, before completing her sentence.
“I remember swallowing and gagging and…puking updirt and rock. I was so cold I can’t even begin to describe, and the pain was way too much for my mind to recall. I don’t remember anything after that except for waking up in a hospital bed.”
The man’s voice resonated empathy for his young, wounded psychiatric patient. “Do you see a pattern now? When you binge and purge, subconsciously you are ridding yourself of the dirt, filth, and shame you feel inside from what was done to you.”
Everyone at this point was furious with Marcus, and there were all sorts of angry chatter floating about the congregation amongst the spectators. Some were so irate they were considering how they could beat the living daylights out of him in the parking lot after the meeting.
An irate woman shouted at him, “I’m gonna take you to the parking lot and shove some rocks right up your…” But Khalid interrupted.
“Everyone, quiet please! It is almost finished, but there is still one more scene left!”
The group scene disintegrated when the same girl, this time in her early 20’s, came into focus. She was sitting on the edge of a bed with a man who appeared slightly older than what she was, lying in the same bed covered in tattoos, and obviously stoned. She had a rubber hose tied around her upper left arm and a needle in her right hand, her arm resting on her leg. She said something to the man that wasn’t clearly audible, but he appeared incoherent anyway.
She thrust the needle into her arm with the experience of a doctor. In only moments, her eyes closed as she collapsed backwards uncontrollably onto the bed. It was apparent to all she was doing heroin.
Without warning, the holographic image disappeared into a blur of colors, having the appearance of being swallowed up by the floor beneath. The lights flickered at first before finally returning to their full intensity.
Khalid unflinchingly informed his group of angry spectators, “The very last scene you witnessed only happened yesterday.” He was rudely interrupted by a roar of countless voices at once yelling and talking. He boldly raised both of his hands.
“Quiet everyone…quiet, please. Thank you.”
He went to Marcus. “How are you feeling right now?”
A man in the back of the group crossly hollered, “I know how I’d feel!”
“Jeff, remember our previous conversation? Would you like for me to reveal anything special to the group tonight?” Khalid warned, as Jeff sat back down without another word.
Khalid gently touched the top of his head as he stared down with love and compassion. Once again, he asked, “Marcus, how are you feeling right now?”
Marcus’ face was buried in his hands, but no one in the group felt any sympathy for him whatsoever. He was crying with so much emotion his back was aching. Khalid rested one hand on his back, gently massaging back and forth to convey tenderness.
“It’s okay Marcus. It hurts to know you’ve ruined someone’s life, doesn’t it? She had once been such a young, innocent child with her entire future ahead of her! Now her life amounts to nothing more than a mess of self-destruction and endless defeat. I’m sure the hurt you’ve suffered over the years is nothing compared to hers, now is it Marcus?”
Marcus’ words were almost unrecognizable. “No, no it’s not, how terrible of me. This is supposed to make me forgive myself? I hate myself even more than I did before! I feel like going home and sticking a gun to my head!” He continued sobbing uncontrollably.
A man yelled, “I’ll do it for you buddy!”
Khalid warned the group once again, “This is supposed to be a place of healing, love, and acceptance people, please remember this at all times. This is by no means a place of judgment, so I would ask you again to please refrain from hurtful comments or you will not be welcome to attend anymore of these meetings! Thank you.”
He continued speaking with Marcus, “In answer to your question, yes Marcus, we’re supposed to forgive ourselves; in fact, one of the biggest sins is not loving or forgiving yourself! Do you believe you’ve sinned?” Khalid stopped, squatted down in front of him, and looked him in the eye as he asked.
“Yes, I’ve sinned.” He fell down to his face before Khalid as Khalid stood back up. “Oh God, please help that girl! Oh God, please forgive me…please forgive me!”
“God has forgiven you, son. I am but His servant, His prophet, but there is one greater than myself of whom even I am not worthy, and He is coming very soon! I am only preparing the way for Him. He cannot come until the church is ready and perfect, and in order to be perfect we must be free from all bondages and from resentments toward ourselves and others! When we flow in harmony amongst our brethren, then our Messiah shall appear!
“Do you want to be healed Marcus? I sense there are those here tonight who aren’t quite sure, who still have doubts in their minds. Let us increase their faith, together—are you ready Marcus to be a part of increasing faith?”
“Yes…God yes I’m ready.”
“Are you ready, my dear friend, to be a part of a moment that has been long-awaited for centuries?”
“Oh, yes! I want that, yes!”
“Then continue bowing before me! Believe that I Amand I will heal you right here, right now, Marcus Vale!”
There was a hush, and it was so quiet a pin falling to the ground could have been heard.
Marcus bowed his head down, weeping, as he wiped Khalid’s bare feet with his tears.
“I believe in who you are! I believe! Heal me my Lord, oh please, heal me!”
“Marcus, you must not only believe that I Am, but that you are! I am a prophet, and together, all of us united in harmony are Gods! As I mentioned earlier, we are the great I Am!”
Without further ado, Khalid laid his hands on the back of Marcus’ head and spoke in the unknown tongue. Afterward, he courageously shouted before the entire congregation.
“In my name,you wicked and foul unclean spirits of depression, lust, unforgiveness, perversion, hatred, addiction, violence, and murder—I command you to release this man at once! You get your hands off of Marcus Phillip Vale! He is mine, bought with my mercy, and the many mercies of Allah! He doesn’t want any part of you anymore! Did you hear me? I said, IN MY NAME, LEAVE THIS MAN AT ONCE!” Khalid began to sweat droplets of blood as he zealously prayed. As the warm scarlet beads trickled down upon Marcus’ head, Khalid claimed they were cleansing him from all of his impurities and unrighteousness.
Without warning, the basement began to quake. People panicked, ducking down beneath their seats while frantically looking around to see what was happening. Devastating sounds of rumbling and rattling pierced the silence as things fell over with loud crashes and bangs. The walls vibrated, and the globe fell from the ceiling light, shattering against the tiled floor in every direction. Shrill screams and hisses that didn’t escape the mouths of anyone present filled the atmosphere; wicked, agonizing screams as if whoever it was ‘was’ in torment and agony.
Eight dark shadows shaped like ghoulish human bodies appeared, running around the basement sporadically while making deep, guttural moans. Suddenly, they came to a halt in unison directly in front of Khalid as he moved his hands in a motion as if he was magically throwing an invisible weapon at them. One by one, all eight shadows fell to the floor in a defeated heap at his feet.
“Now I command you to the abyss! Go now and do not return you unclean, vile spirits!” He had control and authority in his voice, and his countenance told the same story—Khalid was tremendously powerful over evil forces! To those observing, he was wholly in charge!
Again, he threw something unseen at them when enormous flames appeared and consumed them. The shadowy figures convulsed as they melted into a puddle of a black, bubbling tar-like substance before everyone’s eyes. A horrible stench filled the room as the pungent smell of sulfuric sewage wafted each person in the face. People choked, gasped, and gagged, holding their hands over their noses to stifle the odor. Almost immediately, everything vanished and returned to normal, including the fetid smell.