04.27.10

The Martians Are Coming

Posted in Excerpts at 04:11 pm by admin

          I loved to hear my Dad tell the story (Chapter Two, Divine Betrayal) of the night  his Lansing, Michigan church completely overflowed.  Right in the middle of the church service the doors flew open and droves of people started entering the church.  Not only that, but they sat, listened to what Dad said and their faces were full of anticipation.  They eagerly took in every word. Then, when he asked who wanted to come forward and ask Jesus to forgive their sins and give their heart to the Lord, they all came forward, some of them crying, with their hand in the air, anxious to have my Dad pray for them.

Lansing, MI Church - 1937

           “Something seemed strange to me,” said Dad.  “I have never seen anything like this.”  “As they were coming forward I asked one of our members if he knew what was happening.”  He shrugged his shoulders and said,” No, I don’t, but thank the Lord.” 

            As soon as Dad’s prayer was over, and the new converts rose from the alter, with relieved expressions on their faces, Dad took someone he knew aside and asked him “why tonight, what was happening? “ He then told Dad. “It’s the end of the world, we are being invaded by Martians.  We all heard the news on the radio tonight. “

            Later, when Dad returned to the parsonage, he turned on the radio and heard the news.  The announcers were talking about the panic caused by Orson Welles’s CBS radio drama on Mercury Theater called “The War of the Worlds.”  It was a realistic drama vividly announcing the invasion of Martians.  It was so well done, without giving any warning at the beginning of the program, that this was fiction, all that heard it were convinced that it was really happening.  

          I’ve often wondered if this happened today, how would we react?  Would many of us run to the nearest church, would we start praying, would we get on the phone and see if our loved ones were O.K. and warn them of impending doom? How would I react?

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