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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

a Glimpse of Hell

i think i had a glimpse of hell this Saturn's day past and no, it wasn't my house. As the savvy might guess, the portal for the glimpsing was in New Jersey. More specifically the gambling mecca of the Eastern Seaboard: Atlantic City. i would ordinarily be more likely to duck under a government quarentine plastic bubble and try and bum a smoke off the machine gun toting gentleman in the bright yellow biohazzard suit and mask than willingly set foot in Jersey, much less AC, much, much less a casino. But you do these things for family and it's good to expose yourself to cultures foreign to your own now and again. Can't find the lost if you never go looking for them.

But these aren't the lost we're talking about here, these are the damned. They bore a lot less in common with the Samaritan woman by the well with whom Jesus struck up a conversation than they did the man posessed by Legion. i could very easily imagine that if Jesus walked into the main floor of one of these joints, kind of an interesting thought in itself, that these folk would have jumped up, ran to him screaming, "What do you want with us, Jesus, son of the Most High God? Swear to God you won't torment us!"

Then again i have an active imagination. Though, it's completely stumped by the slot machine. i just don't get the attraction. The only other time i've seen a critter of flesh and blood just sit at something and push a button that mechanically was in an experiment done on rats. Hmm, or me playing solitaire, maybe it's not so weird after all? Oh i understand the theory...sell the fantasy. Glitz, glamour, the chance to win fortune and fame, that's what the casino's are selling. You are James Bond, you are a movie star, a gangster, you are one pull, one card, one toss of the dice away from dining with the gods. And for some folk it seems to work, you see them walking around like kids in Disney World.

But the shades i see the world in are blue, not rose colored. i see the cocktail waitresses with mascara so dark they might be covering black eyes who can barely walk anymore in their ridiculous heels. i see the wolves, most of them married, who prowl around ogling the women like God and their wives gave them a three day pass. i see stumbling drunks, children who should be in bed, people betting the grocery money to win back the rent money. I see flesh peddlers and girls who for some reason, maybe competition, decided to dress like flesh peddlers. i see the homeless, maybe just trying to get warm or a free drink or find a machine with one more pull on it that will change their fate. But most of all, i see sheep, looking for the very things they were designed to find--meaning, love, glory, an escape from this present darkness and Satan distracting them with colored lights and empty promises to keep them from looking in the right place.

i take heart however in the fact that whether they are seeking Him or not, whether they are more like the woman by the well or the demon possessed man, Jesus saved them both.

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