He spends his time riding the subways, walking from car to car, preaching the Gospel. His black suit soaks through with the spirit, his body on fire with passion for his Lord.
Jesus died for your sins! He gave his life so you could be here now, riding this train to your air conditioned office. He was hung from a cross, steel spikes driven through his palms and feet. He endured torture for you. Brothers and Sisters! Can I get an ‘ Amen?’
Reginald doesn’t often get an Amen. Even from the riders who nod to him politely, from the ones who don’t actively ignore him, even from the church-goers, he seldom gets a vocal response, but he is not discouraged! He has the Love of his Lord flowing through his veins. It is hot within him. It dispels his hunger. It quenches his thirst. It drives him forward to deliver the Gospel.
And when sweat gathers at his temples and streams into his eyes, he does not blink it away. He welcomes the fresh burning tears as penance for his own sins, a reminder of his plight as a mortal who must beg forgiveness daily, who must give himself to God’s Love so that he can also keep on the good path, each step in the light of the Lord a blessing.
Are we not all sinners, brothers and sisters? Do we not covet daily? Given to horrible temptations? How many lies tear through your throats as you labor? It is okay! Beg forgiveness from Jeeeeeeee-sus Christ! He can save your soul! But you must do it before it’s too late! The Devil devours every second you hesitate! Your indifference feeds his evil plans, fuels the hearts of his demons!
Reginald speaks with absolute certainty. He knows the demons that must be conquered. Even now with God’s Love swollen in his guts does he feel the demons tittering in the shadows, just outside of his vision, just outside of the reach of his sermoning. Sin and Temptation are constantly on his heels and the gaping maw of damnation is always just a misstep in the wrong direction.
As his passion swells and his voice rises, he sees a bearded white man tap his headphones turning up the volume to drown him out. A young sister doing her best to keep her nose in her book shoots him a disdainful look and shakes her head. He knows she is reading the same page again because he is distracting her. He is undeterred. They are upset now because they see him as an inconvenience, but he knows he is saving them!
The Word of the Lord is NEVER an inconvenience. Even as my sermon falls upon some deaf ears, I am inching you closer to salvation! I am wrapping your souls in a protective armor against the sin that surrounds us. Do you not see that we are riding through the belly of the beast? This is Babylon, my friends! Fifth Avenue is the Devil’s driveway. Time’s Square is a playground for vagrants and thieves! Tell me you haven’t seen the vacant eyes of the runaways! The swaying slouches of the junkies! These are your brothers and sisters and you walk by them as if they were already GHOSTS!
Reginald knew this because he was one of those ghosts once. Before he had been saved by Jesus’ love, resurrected into the Light, born again forgiven and put forth on his mission to save others from similar fates! His veins still itch for the fire of Hell. He still goes to sleep every night craving the demonic push.
It is prayer that protects him. Prayer is the only thing that holds together his tattered heart, that kept the nightmares from springing to life before his eyes. His days in the gutter aren’t that far behind him, so he prays to push them away, to make them feel farther than they actually are. He fills his veins with God’s Word so that they stop their screaming for the other, so that the monster that sleeps inside him will never stir again. He roars the Gospel to drown out its infernal purring.
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ! We MUST–
“Man! Please just stop!” The bearded young man took out a headphone and glared at him. “Please. I’m just trying to relax a little on my way to work. I don’t want to hear it.”
Young man, I’m trying to save you. Don’t you understand?
“I don’t need you to save me, man. I need you to leave me alone. Just move on to the next car.”
But have you found Jesus, my brother?
“I’m cool, man.” He put his headphone back in. A young woman next to him caught Reginald’s eye and looked away like a flash of lightning. Other eyes were on him now too, accusing him of being an imposition on their heresy. They were the same eyes that were blind to him when he was on the corner, nodding off in a cloud of beautiful numbness, when every day was a funnel into that cloud, a cloud that got thicker and heavier every day, a cloud that pushed away all the pain and guilt and fear and let him float downward, forever d–
A stream of hot sweat hits Reginald’s eye and slaps him back to the moment. He starts ambling to the next car as the train stops and some people file off to be replaced by other tired-looking commuters.
Jesus loves you! Ask his forgiveness and his love will fill you and protect you! Give yourself to The Lord and you will be saved!
Silence rushes into the subway car and is quickly replaced with the rumble of the train car and the screech of the brakes as the subway pulls into the next station.
And in the next car he preaches louder. He preaches loud enough to keep the demons at bay. The devil is on his heels.