Jul 052013 11 Responses

What Goes On When Every Head is Bowed and Every Eye Closed

“Every head bowed, every eye closed.”

Anyone who grew up in a Baptist church is familiar with that line. It was the beginning of the end.

Just a few stanzas after that line, we would be set free to head to Western Sizzlin or Braums or Taco Bell, depending on if it was Sunday morning or Sunday night or Wednesday night. Yep, you could order the importance of service based on the price of the value menu. We got $7 sermons, $5 sermons, and you could pay for Wednesday night’s sermons with the leftover change in your car seat.

But before it was over, there was work to do—souls to be saved, hearts to be convicted, heathens to be converted.

I always wondered what happened when every head was bowed and every eye was closed.

It’s one reason I wanted to become a preacher. The preacher gets to see. Preachers have a skill the common laity do not posses; we can pray with our eyes open.

Slain in the Spirit, Goosed in the Butt

I accidentally got a glimpse of what happens during an invitation when I was ten.

I was in my normal back row position between my mom and dad. It was a Sunday night with very few people seated in the outer sections where we always resided. Twenty empty rows were ahead of me before another couple could be found.

As the service ended and the preacher tried to convert the people who attend church on Sunday night, I was slow to my feet. I didn’t close my eyes in time and while everyone else had their heads bowed and eyes closed either thinking about salvation or a Braums double scoop Sundae, I saw it.

Deacon Jones (the name is changed for his sake, but make no mistake, I remember who it was), pinched Sister Jones right on the rear-end.

“What the hell-alujauh,” Sister Jones shouted almost cursing during the invitation but changing it to a holy praise.

A nearly asleep deacon startled awake and shouted, “Amen.”   

“That’s right,” the preacher said, “people are feeling the Spirit and so can you.”

Little did the preacher know that people weren’t getting slain in the Spirit, they were getting goosed in the rear-end. But sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.


The Day I Almost Prayed the Rapture Upon Us

It would be another six years before I would give my first official invitation.

I had preached a few times, but mainly on Wednesday nights when you didn’t call people to get saved. Back then you had a lengthy window if you wanted to get saved on Sunday mornings, a short window for Sunday nights, and no chance on Wednesday nights.

Preaching my first out of town sermon at the age of 16, I concluded my message with passion.

I said the words just as Billy Graham would, “Every head bowed and every eye closed.”

As I began to pray the sinners down to the front, the stage below me began to vibrate.

It was a weird feeling.

It kept getting stronger.

The stronger it got, the louder I prayed.

The louder I prayed, the stronger it got.

The vibration worked it’s way up through the wooden pulpit.

My hands gripped the wood tightly as my whole body began to shake.

I heard a great sound. I wasn’t sure if it was the sound of a mighty rushing wind or not, but I wasn’t taking any chances.

Although I had never read the book of Revelation, I had heard the song “At the Midnight Cry” enough times to know what was about to happen.

Just about the time I expected to hear the sound of a trumpet and the Father say, “Son, go get my children,” a loud whistle let out.

It wasn’t the sign of the end; it was a sign that the train which ran beside the church was crossing the intersection. For 30 seconds, I stood silently as the train passed, unable to utter a word from the embarrassment and not needing to say anything since no one would be able to hear me over the sound of the train cars going down the track.

When the sound ended, I whispered my prayer and sat down.

After the service, an older gentleman said, “Around here, we know when you’ve preached too long. All the rookies fail to finish before the 12:05 train.”

I learned that day there is a dramatic difference between the Midnight Cry and the Noonday Train.



11 Responses to What Goes On When Every Head is Bowed and Every Eye Closed
  1. […] The great danger for humanity is that we will trust our eyes to just an extent that we won’t b... https://www.kevinathompson.com/going-see

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