By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Photo by Todd Rengel/Animusrex.comAs I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: "Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the Earth because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!"
As the world went to hell around her, a young mom half led, half dragged her daughter, who looked about 10, into the sanctuary at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa—which is actually located in Santa Ana. The born-againers' church opened its doors for anyone who needed to pray on Sept. 11.
By about 3:45 p.m. that day, the 25 or so people scattered about the large hall obviously needed prayer.
A guy in his early 30s had an acoustic guitar strapped on as he went to the mic and prayed for God to "leave your kingdom in heaven and come to this world quickly. You would save many if you did this."
The guitarist also prayed for the Big Guy to "help us with what we don't understand" and to "give wisdom beyond his years to George Bush—supernatural wisdom."
That wisdom shouldn't be required for long, though, based on the guitarist's next request: "God, we pray to you to give us strength and spirit in these Last Days."
God, who had quite a full plate that day, did not return repeated calls from the Weekly for comment on the guitarist's observation that these are the End Times. But unlike United States military and intelligence communities, the Divine One apparently knew the sneak attack was coming, according to a middle-aged man who took the mic.
"God, when this happened today, you knew 6,000 years ago at the Garden of Eden that this day would come," the man said. "How you must look at what we've done to this world you gave us. God, I would pray that you would make beauty from ashes after what we've done today. In Jesus' name. Amen."
"Father, we're fat, dull and happy," prayed a baldish man in his 40s who openly displayed at least two of those traits. "We're lazy. We're remiss when it comes to prayer."
He then made a bold prediction: "This will fill our pews."
When prayers were offered for grieving wives who would not have husbands coming home that night, husbands who would not have wives coming home that night and children who would not have parents coming home that night, tears poured from the bowed head of that young woman who had pulled her daughter into the sanctuary.
The little girl, showing no emotion, quietly rose, walked up to a Kleenex box near the altar, pulled out a tissue, walked back to her seat and carefully placed it over the pew directly in front of her mother's bowed head. (Matt Coker)
My wife and I were watching the TV news reports when Paul the plumber showed up at our door. Our kitchen pipes needed replacing, and he had come to give us an estimate. Paul was a really nice guy. Really nice. In fact, what struck me about Paul was that he seemed so nice, so content, so utterly unfazed about what had happened that morning.
An hour before, I had walked my son to school. Nearly all the adults I saw there—clutching their children's hands—had taut faces. But Paul was rather upbeat. He tensed up a bit when he told me how much the pipe replacement would cost, but when I said that was fine, he brightened again.
I began to wonder if he had heard what had happened in New York and Washington, D.C. He had told me he had already been working a couple of hours. Maybe he was too busy to hear the news?
So I asked him how the freeways had been. "Fine, great," he said. "Hardly anybody's on them."
"Well, I guess since everything's been closed."
"Yeah," he said, and the way he said it told me he knew what had happened.
"Crazy, huh?" I said.
"Well, I have my opinions," he said.
I offered that today, "everybody has an opinion."
"Well, I think America has been on a long decline," he said. I was about to agree with him that we have been naive in our belief that we could not be attacked on our soil. Then he said, "A long moral decline.
"I study Bible prophecy," he continued, "and these kinds of things have been predicted. I know it seems horrible, but for me, this is an exciting time. All this is part of God's plan. You can see His hand in all of this. I mean, it's a shame that tens of thousands of people have to die, but you have to look at this over the long haul. Things are happening now, and I think this is the beginning of the end."
And he said "beginning of the end" with all the light in his voice with which someone might tell you they were planning a family trip to Disneyland.
"Exciting time," he said as he went back to writing the estimate. (Steve Lowery)