This post is different. My husband is the storyteller in our family. We found out three years ago that he probably was created for that, and were we living in a Cherokee village he would be fulfilling that destiny given through his birth family.
Nevertheless, I am here writing today. And I have a story to tell. It will probably be more like chapters, as there is much to share. Here is "Chapter One" of River Dance...
A young couple who had met at Bible College in the Appalachian mountains stepped out into the stream of marriage and shortly thereafter followed a call into ministry. Ordination followed and soon they sat in the living room of their mentor minister's home. Internship was exciting and difficult. Growling stomachs and saving pennies for gas to travel each weekend were part of the preparation. We saw first hand the poverty and despair that comes from living in a land without The River.
Two "churches" situated opposite each other who were once one congregation; the placement of the coal pile being the reason for the split.
Children sexually abused and neglected, swarming with lice and fear in a dry and weary land were a weekly experience.
Being young in years and full of zeal, the call to a full time pastorate in the Allegheny mountains was welcomed. Lush and breathtaking views greeted the couple every morning in this historic, artistic quaint mountain town. A few warm-hearted people contrasted the chilly winters and bone cold growth level of the congregation. They were frozen in The River, damming its flow altogether.
After leading the group of people as far as they cared to go ( which wasn't far- the Church's Historian's records showed no change in 10 years in attendance, missions nor financial incrementation) the two - who - were- now-three packed up and entered into The City of the Fountain.
There they received an education of both sides of the spectrum; the glorious possibility of the presence of God and darkness' eerie attempts to prevail. Previous minister had a son who fancied having a coffin in the garage and an ouija board in his bedroom. He eventually killed his own child. Many times a strange presence was felt in the parsonage. Discord seemed to come instantly between The Two. The Jewel placed a book in the woman's hands that was entitled This Present Darkness. Eyes began to open and deeper understanding poured out upon The Two.
A teaching regarding the Holy Spirit made them angry at first. Determined to prove the error, months were spent scouring The Book of the River in efforts to document the findings.
Document them they did, and also found the truth.
This truth led The Two to challenge The Lord of The River.
"If this is true, and if this is real, and I somehow have missed it all this time, please show me. Baptize me, Fill me with Your Holy Spirit for I do not want any other."
The challenge did not go unnoticed nor unanswered. Light burst forth and understanding fell upon them both, individually, separately and alone. No man nor flesh did this. God and God alone. The Two had been introduced to The River. They needed a trail guide. The Lord of The River promptly provided that guide. She was a Jewel amongst the congregation, shining brightly amongst diamonds in the rough who led them to others who knew of The River.
One of the first things The River does is to cleanse. Questions that had plagued them for a long time were suddenly answered and a fresh softening of their hearts began to restore any damage caused by the resident evil.
Another testing of the teaching took place. Despite not knowing of The Gifts found in The Book of The River, The Two still sensed something not right in the house. After hearing about a person who had resolved a similar issue, they decided to apply it to the house. Praying through each room, and anointing each door and window with oil, the house became electrified. An overpowering odor emanated from the upstairs. A bedroom door opened on its own. The door to the upper level also opened on its own accord, with the sounds of footsteps heard following it. Upon praying through a room and anointing it, a peace was felt until the next room was entered. The peace was restored through the prayer, praise and anointing. Between the chimney for the fireplace downstairs and the wall they found the source of the smell. Praying through they removed the ouija board that had been tucked into the space. Taking it outside and burning it, a deep, thick black smoke rose into the sky. The house cleansed, The Two were now free to live there in peace and the search for the river resumed.
Once you have tasted of this water, you are never satisfied with the beverage of religion. There is too much life, joy, peace that splashes over your thirsty soul to turn back. The Two found themselves searching after the river, hiking trails, looking for signs that would lead them to its banks. It's melodious, rhythmic rapids called out to them and stirred something deep within that they did not recognize.
The Landlubbers were none to happy to see the young minister and his wife tasting a different brew. Their palates were too accustomed to the fermented flavor of old wine; their skins had grown hard and resisted expansion of any sort. It wasn't long before their left feet began to get restless. The River was calling and several others heard the sound. They too wanted more. After several months of banter back and forth about The River, the right hands of the leaders pulled away from The Two and the elected leadership inserted their left feet where the sun doesn't shine, sending The Two hurtling out to the curb. It was a painful time of great shock, disillusionment and a test of the call. As they wandered and wondered why the Lord of The River seemed to have abandoned them, they did not know they had actually embarked upon the path that would lead them straight into the rushing current itself.
The Jewel had invited them to a service nearby. Reluctantly they agreed to go. For the woman, the thought of entering one of "those" churches was intimidating. The many stories of bizarre activities caused her to tremble as they walked in the door. But no pews were rocking, no one was jumping around and each of the 3 chandeliers seemed to be just fine in their proper places, hanging still. They were definitely not prepared for what they heard and saw next!