Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The voice calling from the desert-like platform

The A train pulled into 125th Street. The doors opened, and a man began to bellow the words of John 3:16 into my car, as if he were warning of suspicious unattended packages instead of what I imagine he was hoping to do: Infuse the car and its occupants with whatever divine hope possible. "For God so loved ..." No part of his body, save his voice, actually entered the train car, but when the doors were about to close again, he added on a quick "... which means God loves you ... " to the end of the actual verse. The doors snapped shut on his "you," and we were off to the next station.

Normally, I think about how I appreciate their message but dislike their method, but tonight, I thought about how infrequently I actually see and hear subway preachers here. Even during the comparatively few times I rode public transit in Philadelphia, I saw more of their kind. Compared with all the subway beggars and drummers and tumblers and vendors and free-stress-test-granting Scientologists, there just aren't as many people bellowing the word of God. Maybe I'm not on the right lines or riding at the right times. Either way, it's a funny thing when even an unwanted intrusion like that can make me look up from my book and feel its refreshing novelty.

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