Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Exorcised: a prayer for Minister Mike

I’m at the church. No plumbers. No Con Ed. OK, what’s going on?
I windup spending all afternoon at an Occupy Faith meeting at Judson with people from around the country....Oakland, Chicago, DC, Portland...A real mixture. Old school progressives who’ve been waiting a long time for this. Representatives from the Council of Elders, Civil Rights era veterams passing the torch. Serious liberation theologians. Activist priests. Long haired bearded post evangelical emergent counterculturals with their Occupy Christmas plan. (  Hardcore radicals from Oakland and seminarians. Day of coordinated action? Launching a campaign? Organization vs. movement? Lots of questions. Proposed strategies. A constant reminder that this movement belongs to everybody, not anybody. 

Occupy Faith

Back at the church, Martin has come in directly from his flight from Madrid, with his mother Luli, his wife, and two children. Needs another tour of the building. It’s time to decide what is possible. 
As I am sendin them off, the door is rattling. I open it, a disraught looking young man comes in. Father...he says...I need you.
OK, what’s up?
I have given my life to Jesus. I work all the time trying  to lead people to him. Up in skyscrapers. Down in the streets. I am called. I am anointed. But I am cursed by witchcraft. Powerful witchcraft.  Will you help  me? Pray for my release....bless me.... 
 I send Martin and family on.  Ask some basic questions. What’s your name? 
Minister Mike. 
Where you  from?
Do you know the source of the withcraft?
Yes, I do. But no one would believe me if I told them...I will say nothing...
Have you been to see your local parish priest?
Yes I have. But their exorcisms fail. I need prayer warriors. I need you to give me a prayer. I have taken vows. I was moderate, but now I abstain from alcohol. I have become celibate. I have not masturbated...
Minister Mike. Listen to me. Look at me. I can pray for you. I guarantee nothing. I can only add my prayers to those of others who pray for you. To surround you with our prayers. OK?
He nods. I lead him into the sanctuary. Under the glowing light of the Tiffany window Jesus, child in his arms. He bows his head. I bow mine. Put my hands on his shoulders.
God our Creator. Father God. We thank you for Minister Mike. We know that he has turned his life over to you. Fill every place inside if him with your loving spirit. You know he seeks to serve you. To be an example. To lead others to you. You know he struggles with a heavy burden. You know that he struggles with powers and principalities. Fill him with your loving Holy Spirit. Gather all the prayers of those who love him. Surround him with the power of those prayers. Protect him withthe power of those prayers by the sustaining power of your Holy Spirit. Protect him with the full armor of the your love. Help know and understand the power of your grace and forgiveness. I place my hands on his head. Be with him on his journey. Bless him, protect him, keep him safe on his journey. These things  we pray in the holy name of Jesus
We open our eyes. He looks up at me. Father, I have a tatoo, bless my tatoo...He pulls up his sleeve. Show me the cross tatooed on his forearm. I place my hand on it.
Bless this cross for Minister Mike, O lord. May it always remind him of  the promises he has made. But let it also remind him that just as it is always with him, you are always with him. Everyday, every moment. Let him never forget your love.  
He seems less agitated. Calmer. Now I need to bless you. There is so much evil in me. It will stay in this place after me. And he opens his prayer book, reads a prayer, makes the sign of the cross to me. And I cross myself. I walk out with him. At the door I reach out my hand, look into his eyes. Peace be with you, i say. And also with you, he says. 
As i am seeing him out, Martin and his family are coming back. Hey, thanks. Can I see you tomorrow? I came straight here from the airport. It’s cold, man. I tell him my wife and son spent Christmas in Madrid two years ago. Beautiful. I’ll be back tomorrow. I shake hands all around, see them out. 
The side door bell rings. I open the door. It’s John, from the first Occupy.... work group. And a woman. He looks worried. Can i talk to you?
Rememeber me?
Yes, from Occupy..., the first work group. What’s up?
That woman, that blonde woman, Sandy, she said you maybe weren’t so happy with the way things worked out. Maybe something was wrong...
No man, it’s good. we’re talking everyday. Working every day. Talking about a longer term relationship. 
I nod. It’s ok. So he too, for some unknown reason, needs absolution. It’s ok.
Thank you, thank you, that means so much. And he and his woman are gone, heading west on 86th Street. 

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