A threesome with Jesus

“Pick up your bibles and turn with me to the eighth chapter of the book of Matthew.”

The pastor lifts his NIV and, adjusting the headset mic barely visible next to his lips, begins to pace the stage.

“’He got into the boat and his students followed him. A furious storm came upon the lake but Jesus was sleeping.’ Now, these disciples of Jesus don’t know what they’re getting into. The fifty-third chapter of the book of Isaiah tells us that Jesus ‘had no form or majesty that we should look at him.’ So Jesus was a small man. He was a little man in a canoe. And the disciples, not knowing what to do, put their hands on him and shook him and shook him. Rocked him left and right and pushed him and pulled him and tried their best to wake him.”

The pastor stops pacing and turns toward the audience.

“Now, friends.”

He takes off his glasses and slowly cleans them against his shirt before putting them back on.

“Now, you gotta know to always be wary of the little man in the canoe. We are commanded to love him but we must be on guard. He may be sleeping now but if you wake him the fury of the storm around you will pale against his rage. He will rebuke you and you will be left stunned and speechless, your clothes still dripping from the wetness around you even though the land is now dry.”

He puts the bible back onto the podium and looks up at the congregation seated in chairs all across the gym floor.

“We, as the people of God, must learn to love God vigorously. Not just with our minds and our hearts but with our very bodies. You’ve heard that when you are with your partner, maybe you’re dancing together at prom or you’re staying up late in the backseat of your car together, that you must make room for the Holy Spirit. Indeed, we must not only make room but invite the spirit in. Let the spirit touch us, hold us, and have its way with us. Make room for the Holy Spirit deep, deep, deep inside of you.”

People in the front rows could see sweat beginning to mark his underarms and roll down his brow.

“And when you’re together in bed remember that Christ did not come down from the cross. He could have come down but he knew that if he did not come, if he gave his life for us then he’d save us all. He had to stay up on the cross so that we could go down. And we will — we’ll all go down. That’s why we’re gathered here today and why we gather every week. This is why we pray in our beds at night, our fingers together and our lips against our fingers, so that we can go down and feel the love of the Lord.”

His pacing intensifies.

“So open yourselves and let the Lord inside!”

“Amen!” voices among the congregation shout.

“Spread yourselves wide and let the good Lord have his way in your life.”

Throaty murmuring emanates from the audience.

“Swipe right on Jesus!”

In groups of two and three people begin to usher each other out of the gymnasium and into classrooms and hallways and any unlocked utility closet.

“The bible tells us that King Solomon was the wisest of men. And he wrote ‘As a lily among brambles, so is my love among the young women’. Let us follow his godly example.”

Someone moans from under the stadium seats in the back.

“And the second chapter of the Song of Solomon tells us that ‘With great delight I sat in his shadow and his fruit is sweet to my taste.’”

A custodian peeks his head into the gym, sees what appears to be a wrestling tournament, and quickly goes back to work at the other end of campus.

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