, the people who owned the lot next to the church burnt
their trash. It smelled like tire
s burning. The playground
smelled the worst, and you could see the flames through the fence that separated the two. I watched the burning garbage next door, the fire blurring the air
, as I swung on the tire swing
in the grove of trees
in the back corner of the playground. Between the trees
was a makeshift trampoline
, a box spring
with a piece of plywood
If our church had a name, I didn’t know what it was. The name of the building was The Live Oak, bought by the Petermans in the 1970s, but the church is the people, not the building. Our church was the only one of its kind. It didn’t need to have a name, because all believers were part of the same church.
Like the first churches, ours started in people’s homes. In the Bible, the disciples met in people’s homes, and they had to draw the fish on the ground in front of the house where they met, so that other church-members could find them but the Pharisees and Romans wouldn’t know what they were meeting about. This was in the Book of Acts.
We thanked God that we could meet in public and proclaim our faith, but our way of life was in danger. Soon we would be persecuted for believing in Jesus. It would be here like it was in Russia. We would have to smuggle Bibles in. (It would be okay to smuggle and disobey the laws of the land that were in conflict with the Word of God.) Soon we would be tested. The government would say that if you believe in Jesus, they will kill you, but you cannot deny your faith; that would be worse than dying.
The playground had a swingset too, with wooden swings, a wooden tower with a wide, low slide, beneath the walnut tree, and a wooden playhouse, built off the ground. You climbed up the steps into the house. I was too tall, so I crouched inside. I brought dirt for cooking, sifting it through the sieve, to bake a pie.
My mother let me stay on her lap during communion one Sunday. She thought I was old enough at five to take the body and blood of Christ. She handed me the Ak-mak sesame cracker, and the pastor told us to bow our heads in prayer. I tried to eat the cracker quietly, but my mother heard me crunching it and took it away. She led me to the Sunday school room silently before the pastor poured the grape juice.
from The Book of Revelation
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