Recondite Snippet II

INT. MOUNT ZION BAPTIST CHURCH - EVENING

A congregation half-full praises and worships together in the sanctuary. Landon sits towards the back, observing all the demons (some of which fade to dust at the presence of true worship) hovering over the congregation.

Landon stands next to Bishop Jones, clapping and singing. Landon looks up and sees the demon bubbling over as if enjoying the praises. It leaks down onto some of the members and covers them in its liquid. Their demons feed on the liquid while the people continue to present themselves as if truly worshipping in heart rather than routine.

Landon shakes his head. Over a dozen members in leadership have Scythe Demons towering over them. Other demons, separate from the people, fly about the room and praise the Liquid Demon hanging from above. Landon grows irritable as he witnesses the scene. He clutches his Bible tightly.

Bishop Jones notices Landon's intensity and lays a hand on his shoulder. Landon looks at him and Bishop Jones smiles gently. Landon relaxes. The song ends. The congregation sits. Pastor J. Simpson takes the stage and stands behind the podium.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

(Giddy)

Now wasn't that a praise!?

CONGREGANT 1

Yes!

CONGREGANT 2

Glory!

CONGREGANT 3

Hallelujah!

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

Glory to God, glory to God, glory to God!

CONGREGANT 3

Yes! Hallelujah!

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

I feel like shou-ting!

CONGREGANT 4

Come on, nah.

CONGREGANT 5

Preach!

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

Keep it up and I just might run!

CONGREGANT 1

Go head, Pastor!

Some people laugh.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

I'mma spare y'all of that, though. I have a word, I have a word.

Pastor Simpson flips through his Bible. He stops at a page, reads, and looks at the congregation. The Scythe Demon taps Pastor Simpson on the head with its scythe. Landon studies the interaction. Pastor Simpson looks back down and chuckles. He closes the Bible.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON (CONT’D)

It. Hmm… I was wondering if I should allow this… It has been brought to my attention recently… that some people don't like the way I do things around here.

Waits for a response.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON (CONT’D)

I'm not mad. I thought to- go off on some folk in here, but I realize that might not be the way God wants me to handle it.

He begins to pace.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON (CONT’D)

After all… This is a Body, amen?

CONGREGANTS

Amen.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

And the Body is made of several parts, amen?

CONGREGANTS

Amen.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

We can't be mad if the- pinky toe gets less attention than the head.

Some people laugh.

CONGREGANT 2

Tell it!

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

I mean… seeing a brother up here every Sunday… being loved by the congregation… It can… bring on… envy… and covetousness.

CONGREGANT 5

Oop!

CONGREGANT 2

Haters gone hate!

Pastor Simpson laughs.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

No, no, no. Some people have a valid point… which is why I've agreed to do things a little differently for Bible study tonight.

He steps down from the stage.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON (CONT’D)

I, will step down from the stage tonight. I will humble myself.

CONGREGANTS

Ooo!

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

No, no. No. I will surrender my voice, my teaching, my sermon… and to the suggestion of Bishop Henry Jones… I will let you all speak.

People gasp. Some turn back and look at Bishop Jones, who simply smiles to Pastor Simpson. Landon looks at him perturbed.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON (CONT’D)

I will give this microphone to anyone- anyone! Who feels the Lord needs to use them to say something. (To a Deacon) Here, here, bring me that mic.

A Deacon stands up and walks over to a microphone stand and delivers the microphone to Pastor Simpson. Pastor Simpson waves the microphone around as he walks down the main aisle. Many heads shake, hands reject, or eyes look away from Pastor Simpson as he walks down.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON (CONT’D)

Anybody? (Sarcastically) I just know there's a sermon in your heart. I just know you've spent hours and hours this week working out a lesson plan.

Some people chuckle.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON (CONT’D)

Come on. Somebody. Don't be afraid. (Sarcastically) We are humbly waiting for the word of the Lord from you.

Bishop Jones leans over to Landon

BISHOP JONES

Now's your chance.

LANDON PATTERSON

Do you think it wise to say something in this climate?

BISHOP JONES

God's words often come when people desire them the least.

LANDON PATTERSON

I don't know what to say.

BISHOP JONES

God has already put the words there. You just need to be the vessel. Open yo mouth.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON (O.S.)

Come on. Don't be shy.

LANDON PATTERSON

This feels like a trap.

BISHOP JONES

No weapon formed against you shall prosper. Let the wicked fall into their own traps while you pass by safely.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON (O.S.)

We don't have all day, ladies and gentlemen. Some of us have to get ready for work tomorrow.

Some in the congregation chuckle. Everyone is looking around. Landon goes to stand but Chelsea stands up before him.

CHELSEA SMITH

I have a word!

The congregation goes quiet as Pastor Simpson turns and sees Chelsea nervously standing by herself. The people seated next to her slide away from her. Pastor Simpson smiles and delivers her the microphone. Landon stands up subconsciously as he sees all the demons Chelsea used to carry are now gone. Bishop Jones pulls him back down.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

And what has the Lord brought to you, my sistah?

CONGREGANT 4

Be honest, baby.

CONGREGANT 2

Say what's on your heart.

CHELSEA SMITH

I…

She pauses and looks at people’s faces.

CONGREGANT 1

Don't be afraid.

CONGREGANT 4

Yeah, you good, baby.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

Come on, sistah, let's hear that word, now.

Chelsea looks at Pastor Simpson. Pastor Simpson faces her cautiously.

CHELSEA SMITH

I just… wanted to say… I've been really getting back into reading the Word… and taking my walk with God seriously. I've volunteered here for some time, but I wasn't taking God seriously. It had some costly effects… I think the Lord is calling us to repent for our sins. Not out of routine communion or with our words. He wants us to repent with our actions and from the heart.

CONGREGANT 1

Yes, God!

CONGREGANTS

Amen!

CHELSEA SMITH

I know sin can be tempting and pleasuring, but the goodness of God far outweighs them.

CONGREGANT 3

Awesome!

CONGREGANT 2

Go head, sistah.

CHELSEA SMITH

(Nervous)

I… that's all I wanted to say.

Chelsea hands back the mic. The congregants clap with Pastor Simpson.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

A message of repentance… not in word, but in action. Not with fancy word from our mouths but with the heart… A timely word, sistah. We need to repent! To apologize to God for wanting to sow seeds of discord in the fellowship of the saints.

CONGREGANT 1

Alright, nah.

CONGREGANT 2

Tell it!

CONGREGANT 5

Uh huh.

CHELSEA SMITH

(Sitting, disappointed)

That's not exactly-.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

You see, we've given room to the enemy, in this house. We let the whispers of the envious and jealous cause us to listen to the quote unquote, problems we're having.

The congregants chuckle or shake their head.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON (CONT’D)

And don't think I didn't see you standing (points to Landon).

Congregants look towards Landon.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON (CONT’D)

Before our lovely lady reminded us the importance of repentance, I did see you standing up.

Landon stares at Pastor Simpson. Pastor Simpson walks over to him.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON (CONT’D)

Come on, brotha. Let's hear what you have to say. We usually let the members have a voice, but even visitors to the house of God can be filled with the Spirit.

CONGREGANTS

Amen!

CONGREGANT 2

Yes!

CONGREGANT 4

Glory!

Pastor Simpson glares at Bishop Jones and Landon. He extends the mic to a disturbed Landon.

LANDON PATTERSON

You won't like this.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

What's not to like about a word from the Lord?

CONGREGANT 2

Come on, nah. Say it!

CONGREGANT 5

You got it!

Landon grabs the microphone and looks out into the audience. He steps towards the aisle.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

Slide by. Let him through.

People move out of Landon's way. Landon gets out into the main aisle. He looks up and sees all the demons glaring at him. He closes his eyes and bows his head. Then, he chuckles. Then, he opens his eyes.

LANDON PATTERSON

The Word of the Lord reigns true.

CONGREGANTS

Amen.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

Amen!

LANDON PATTERSON

The Word of the Lord is this… (Walking towards the front) Not all who cry out, Abba Father, will make it into Heaven. Only those who do His will, and are obedient, will make it to Heaven. The Body has convinced itself that acts of kindness, donations, charity work, missions, and attending church services are the will of God, but I beg you ask, when did the Lord tell me to do these things? We've gotten to the point that we do these acts because that's what our predecessors did and we want to feel good about ourselves. But no one is asking, God, should I be doing this? Is this where You've called me to be?

Landon stands in front of the stage.

LANDON PATTERSON (CONT’D)

No, we've found a way to make serving the Lord a routine, a job, or something to do, an ego boost. We don't care about what we’re doing, nor do we have the heart for it. Our service isn't even about God. I see why the Bible calls our (makes quotation marks with hands) righteous acts (Speaks plainly) filthy rags. It's about making us feel good and us about doing what the church always does. When is the last time this church even bothered to talk to God about what they're doing?

CHELSEA SMITH

Amen.

People glare at Chelsea, but she remains unfazed.

LANDON PATTERSON

All over the congregation, I see demons left unchecked. What are we doing?

The Deacons stand up with their demons glaring at Landon.

LANDON PATTERSON (CONT’D)

And look at the conviction. It is almost instant!

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

(Threateningly)

You make bold accusations.

LANDON PATTERSON

You think the Lord cowers from deceit and wickedness? Is He not King of kings and Lord of lords? Is He not the Sovereign Almighty God?

CONGREGANT 2

Yes! Tell it!

LANDON PATTERSON

The Lord is tired of the devil's work being done in His church- this church!

The congregants gasps and goes silent.

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

(Annoyed)

Alright, now. You've had your 15 seconds of fame.

LANDON PATTERSON

You think this is about notoriety!? The Spirit reveals the spirit of lust, pride, and arrogance all over you! I see the way the women in the congregation lust after you! Even now, your demons encourage you to attack me! It is like the grim reaper, striking your spirit with its scythe. And you listen! (Pointing to the congregants) All of you listen to this corrupted, false teacher!

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

That's enough. Grab the mic and get him.

More members of the church rise. Landon gets on stage.

LANDON PATTERSON

You will not humble yourselves, and that is why the demons over this church continue to devour the hearts of the congregation! You have let sin run rampant in this place! You open the door to our worst fears! We are a church run by Satan and his demons!

PASTOR J. SIMPSON

Enough! Cut the mic!

The volunteers scramble to cut the right mic.

LANDON PATTERSON

You will no longer silence the voice of God! You have drowned it out in your narcissism long enough!

The Deacons and men of the church begin to surround him.

LANDON PATTERSON (CONT’D)

I do not fear my enemy! You fear them! If you had seen! If only you could see! Lord God let them see!

The Deacons close in.

LANDON PATTERSON (CONT’D)

Lord, open the eyes of the wicked and show them their fate! Let them see the darkness hovering up above their heads!

Bishop Jones screams in agony. Others start to scream as well. All turn and see the Liquid Demon piercing Bishop Jones through the back. It elevates Bishop Jones from his seat. As it elevates him, all look up and see the Liquid Demon hanging from the ceiling.

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