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I Wish Their Souls Would Catch Afire... Burn Them In The Holy Ghost...

Updated on April 13, 2012

I wish Their Souls Would Catch Afire… Burn Them In The Holy Ghost...

As a boy growing up in the Eastern Caribbean on the bucolic island of Saint Kitts, I used to commandeer my grandma’s portable twelve inch radio - after exposing the batteries to sunlight to give them more ‘juice’ - so that I could listen to Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, and Prince, the latter I consider the greatest musician that ever lived… well, that is, outside of the Biblical King David. Yet with all of Bob Marley soulful reggae voice and in depth lyrics; Michael Jackson’s honey-suckle voice; and Prince’s all around musical craftsmanship, none of them ever moved me to tears like songs about Jesus Christ (here-in-after JC). My grandma, mother, and Jamaican mother-in-law would say my being moved to tears upon hearing songs that glorified JC was the beginning sparks of my soul catching afire. It started out in a subtle way during when my grandma used to listen to Radio Paradise, the local Gospel radio station, and it played the Hallelujah Chorus, the rendition by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir- that is when these joyful tears would force themselves from my eyes, which resulted in an aftermath of cathartic euphoria.

As a man-child then, I kept this to myself until my eyes started publicly betraying me in the Methodist Church my grandma and I attended on Wednesdays and Sundays. The sweet betrayal of my eyes was even more conspicuous during Easter because it was when my Methodist Church would sing the hymn, #211 and when the tears would flow from my eyes like rain from the Monsoon season in India. It is true that the rest of the church, including my beloved grandma, would be balling too, but they were ladies and that was expected. I was not the only man-child that was shedding tears for the Christ, my Sunday School buds’ eyes were leaking too… during that same hymn, #211, with lyrics that include, ‘Up From the grave He Arose… with a mighty victor over His foes… He arose the Victor from the dark domain….’

It must be noted that our Methodist Church would sing hymn, #211 every Good Friday – and in Saint Kitts, traditionally, is when we, as Kittitian children, fly kites, but first, we had to attend church. Every year all of us young men, who were members of the church, would say that we are not going to cry when they sang that song on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and every year the tears would come voluntarily. Now that I am a grown man, I do not even try to understand or care why the tears come because I know it is my soul catching a fire for JC. I have never been drunk or high, and it is not because I am better than anyone else, it is simply the fact that even before I became a Christian, getting drunk or high was not among my vices… much less now... yet I am certain that no high from alcohol or drugs can give me that feeling of euphoria when I am moved to tears for the Christ.

Today, in my church, when they sang - ‘I wished their souls would catch afire… burn them in the Holy Ghost’- I did not cry, but was actually dancing… but it brought back memories of those days in Saint Kitts when the embers of the Spirit of Christ in me were being kindled. And yes I know what the detractors of what I have said in this blog are going to say… volunteering to me the copious psychological reasons why many of us tear-up for JC and also, please do not write me about Evolution or the like because I have studied the Darwinistic principles and even commit them to memory for the sake of debate - incidentally, these Darwinistic principles have yet to move me to tears or engender the cathartic feelings I get when they sing about JC. It was King David who supposedly vulgarly danced for the Lord and when he was chastised by one of his wives, she was summarily punished with barren-hood. Like King David before me, I wish many more of us souls would catch afire and burn in the Holy Ghost… for Jesus, the Christ.


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