One summer when I was a child, my mother decided it was time my brother, sister and I got some old-time religion. So we were dressed up and dropped off at the Diamond Springs Community Church for Vacation Bible School. I must have been all of five years old. Marshall and Nancy were older.
One day we were privileged to witness a true miracle in progress. Somehow we had escaped from Vacation Bible School only to be corralled into attending an actual kids’ service. I think it was a graduation ceremony meant to put the exclamation point on our lessons. It came complete with hymns, prayers, a sermon and lots of Amens. Then the big moment arrived.
“Would you like to hear the Lord knocking at your heart?” the Minister asked.
“Oh yeah!” “Wow!” “Really?” What little kid could resist?
“None of you little kids open your eyes until I tell you to,” he ordered.
Twenty little children dutifully bowed their heads and screwed their eyes shut. Three didn’t. If there was to be a miracle, the Mekemson kids wanted to see it. So we watched the preacher with eagle-eyed attention. He tiptoed from the pulpit to the back of the church.
Bang, bang, bang. He pounded on the back door. Yes indeed, the Lord does work in mysterious ways. We watched the minister tiptoe back to his pulpit.
“OK,” he said, “you can open your eyes now. Did you hear the Lord knocking?”
Twenty little sets of big round eyes popped open and twenty little mouths started gabbing all at once. You could almost guarantee that the kids would be eager to come back to church. The minister smiled smugly until his eyes fell on us. We got the glare. He kept us afterwards for the lecture. Unless we changed our ways, we were bound for a very hot place.
I thought immediately of the experience when I saw the Church Trap. I wondered if the minister would have had a sense of humor about it. Probably not…
“It’s the biggest thing I have ever done,” Mike Garlington said of his Photo Chapel, a 40-foot tall cathedral where Mike featured his photographs of family, friends and fellow DPW (Burning Man’s Department of Public Works) volunteers. His contemporary work had a feeling of age, like photos that were taken in the late Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century. “I collect old photos and these are terrific,” a young woman standing next to me said. Like her, I had assumed the photos were taken from an earlier era until I saw Larry Harvey, the founder of Burning Man, staring out at me from one of them.
NEXT BLOG: A visit to Center Camp.