[anzac] "I DREAMED of a CARNIVAL" -B. Hupperts

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From: "REVIVAL List" <revival_list@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 11:50:52 -0500
-Bryan Hupperts (Jan 23, 2004).

I dreamed I went to a carnival billed as THE GREATEST CARNIVAL SHOW
ON EARTH! As I pulled in to the lot, there were smiling greeters
with flashlights who guided me expertly as I parked.

I exited my vehicle to the sound of excitement, the glare and flash
of multi-colored lights and the screams of thrill seekers on the
various rides. The cacophony was almost overwhelming. I followed the
crowd of people who were happily murmuring about the various things
they had come for: blessings, thrills, to be fed, to be entertained.

I had just paid the full admission price when someone started
walking towards me from the shadows. While I could not quite
recognize his face, I knew he was a friend. He said, �Why are you
wasting your time and money here?�

�But,� I stammered, protesting, �This is the greatest carnival show
on earth.� He was silent for a moment, then replied simply, �We�ll
see.� And off we walked together into the charged, frenetic
atmosphere that was the carnival.

The sights and sounds of merrymaking were amazing! This was a
traveling show and it brought out the crowds. There were singers,
actors, dancers, and those skilled at rhetoric, yet each seemed
hell-bent on outdoing the next person. �Is this some sort of
contest? Is there a prize?� I asked my guide. He replied, �Yes, it
is a contest, but they already have their reward.� I didn�t grasp
his cryptic remark and shrugged it off.

We walked down the midway amid the swarming crowd. There was so much
competing for my attention that it was difficult to focus. There was
a Big Top with the curious sign that read Trap Ease; perhaps it was
a typo. The finely dressed ringmaster told jokes, made people laugh,
and encouraged people to buy his videos and tapes �for a blessing,�
but I didn�t hear the rest since we kept on walking. I wasn�t sure
why, but I began to be uneasy, afraid.

Carnies would hawk their particular game and attraction promising
fame, wealth, beauty, and personal satisfaction if I would only step
up and lay my money down. At the nudging behest of my quiet
companion, we stopped at a game of Balloon Pop.

The fast talking carnie assured me that all I had to do was pop the
balloons with a dart and I would win fabulous prizes. I paid the
fee, took careful aim, and threw dart after dart but I kept missing.
Was this game rigged? My friend then handed me a curiously
bloodstained dart with the word TRUTH inscribed on it, and said
simply, �Use this.� I took it, aimed carefully, threw it and popped
balloon after balloon. The carnie shrieked and finally
excommunicated me from his booth - no prizes awarded. He accused me
of cheating!

There was a trained Lion of Judah in a cage doing tricks for the
ringmaster to the squeals and delights of the crowd. �Make him
heal,� yelled one. �No, make him bless me with money,� cried out
another. And the strange thing was that the lion seemed to be going
along with it. However, as I got closer to the exhibit, I looked
into the lion�s eyes� It was not the Lion of Judah at all, but
instead a killer lion stalking its prey, seeking someone to devour.
He was a fraud, but he looked almost like the real thing. I jumped
back and we walked away as the beast growled menacingly at us.

There is not space to tell of the baptismal dunking booth, or the
house of smoke and mirrors that distorted reality through the haze
of religiously themed rose-colored glasses. Especially disturbing
was the Fortune Telling Prophet who, as his sign promised, would
give you a guaranteed, genuine Word From God for an Activation Fee
of $40.00. I was ready to kick over his crystal ball, but my
companion stopped me. �This is their festival, not mine,� he said.
We walked away.

The carnival was overcharging for the love feasts of corndogs and
lemonade and I kept getting the feeling the food and attractions
were supposed to be provided for free, but perhaps it was just a
feeling. After all, business is business.

And then a wave of nausea began to rise in my throat as I took the
spectacle in. It was like music without a melody, or a painting
without color. There was a growing sense of - violation. And
suddenly, in the distance like a welcome breeze on a hot, humid day,
I heard a quiet sound, almost like a chorus of voices rising in
song. I turned and began to walk towards the music, walking away
from the beguilement and clang of the carnival.

My head began to clear and, as I was walking away, the lettering on
the carnival signs began to rearrange to read, THE GREATEST CARNAL
SHOW ON EARTH! �How do I get out of this madhouse? I am almost ready
to hurl,� I asked. My companion agreed, saying, �I am almost ready
to vomit, too.� He pointed me towards the Tunnel Of Love. As I
walked towards it, I began to notice others quietly leaving the
carnival one or two at a time, sometimes in small groups, walking
away from the carnival following the drift of the music that led
inexorably towards the little boats that rode the gentle waters of
the Tunnel of Love.

As I stepped into the little boat, my companion spoke from behind,
�I�ll see you on the other side where we will dine together,� and he
was gone. And in the Tunnel of Love there was no fear. The clang of
the carnival began to fade as the music and singing grew louder. It
was, it was� worship, but worship as I had never experienced, for it
was borne of passion and offered up in Spirit and Truth! It washed
over me, cleansing me, inviting me to join my voice to the swelling
chorus of adoration and praise sacrificed to the Most High God. And
as the darkness began to fade as the Tunnel of Love gave way to
-Bryan Hupperts (c) 2004
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