Pastor Hickey began his Sunday sermons at Allen Temple AME church like many black pastors across America. They began in a low, calm tone. It was almost like telling a toddler a bedtime story before watching them fall asleep for the night.
A few minutes later tempered turned into thunder. When he wanted his message to be clear. When he wanted his gospel to resonate for the rest of the week Pastor Hickey’s voice rose to unprecedented heights.
A chorus of “Preach brother preach” rang out from the old men in front. The sisters nodded their heads in unison with songs of “Ummmmm. Hmmmmm.”
And then the magic happened. One of the elder ladies would rise, throw her hand in the air and shreik.
“OH LORD JESUS CHRIST!! OH MY SAVIOR! DEAR GOD. SAVE ME! SAVE ME!”
She’d leave her seat and dance down the aisles, all the time screaming with her hand in the air. I was petrified the first time witnessing this. I was around 6 or 7 years old. I turned to my aunt with a worried look and asked her what was happening? Was this lady going to be OK?
“Don’t worry baby,” my aunt said. “She’s just got the spirit in her.”
Eventually the woman calmed down and Pastor Hickey became the center of attention again. Sometimes he’d joke about it.
“We see sister Jenkins got that spirit,” he’d said. “I bet it felt good. Lord have mercy.”
Even today, the spirit confuses me. It seems as if the spirit only hits older black females. I’ve never seen a man get the spirit. I’ve never seen a white person get the spirit. If they do, it is not in this way.
My family has alternated going to Orchard Lake Community Church and Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit. Orchard Lake is a mostly white congregation and I have yet to see someone get the spirit. I have seen mostly older black women get the spirit at Hartford.
I’ve been assured that everybody gets the spirit. Every demographic. Every race. Every age. Every gender. I have yet to see it. I would love to hear your experiences with witnessing or getting filled with the spirit.
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