The 162nd Erick Davidson story is a continuation of "The Old Erick" from 11/15/11. In this blogisode, a glimpse into Erick's choir-singing past inspires Chris to drag Erick to church.
“I can’t believe we’re doing this,” Erick laments as he, Chris, April and Grayson walk into the Praise Tabernacle for Sunday morning service.
“C’mon, this’ll be fun,” Chris says he leads the group through the foyer.
“What’s fun about going to church?” Grayson whispers to April.
“This is a black church,” April whispers back. “They’re more…well…lively.”
Two greeters on either side of the entrance leading into the sanctuary give each of them a hug and a program as they approach. “Welcome to the Praise Tabernacle!” they exclaim.
Chris and Grayson exchange confused glances as April happily hugs them back.
“Just say ‘thank you’,” Erick tells them.
“Thank you,” Chris and Grayson say in unison as they awkwardly hug the greeters.
Erick shakes his head in embarrassment and walks into the sanctuary. April follows and begins waving at people as if she’s been a longtime member. An usher approaches them. “Welcome to the Praise Tabernacle. Follow me to your seats.”
Grayson points to a nearby row of seats. “This is fine here.”
The usher motions him forward. “Please walk this way. We like to fill up the front pews first.”
Grayson reluctantly acquiesces and follows. The usher directs them to two four empty seats in the fourth row.
“Don’t you have anything in a mezzanine?” Grayson asks the usher.
“Grayson, sit down!” April hisses.
“Enjoy the service,” the usher says with a smile as she walks off to seat other attendees.
“I should never have shown you that video,” Erick says to Chris in reference to the YouTube clip his college roommate sent him a few weeks ago of them performing in the school’s gospel choir.
“Well, I’m glad you did. I’ve always wanted to come to one of these rock concert types of churches,” Chris responds.
Erick looks down at his program. “This will probably be more of a discotheque than a ‘rock concert’.”
April leans forward and whispers, “Peace be with you,” to a congregant in the row in front of her. “I’m April and this is my boyfriend Grayson.”
The confused congregant turns around and offers his hand. “God bless you,” he replies as they shake hands.
April leans back. “He was nice,” she says to Grayson.
“There’s something sinfully dichotomous about waking up next to a man who tells you that it’s time to go to church,” Erick comments to Chris under his breath.
“Well, after last night, I’m sure we need all the church we can get,” Chris whispers back with a wink and a smile.
“I called on him last night and he called us here this morning,” Erick jokes as he and Chris start laughing to themselves.
“What’s so funny?” April asks.
Chris whispers his last exchange with Erick into April’s ear and she starts laughing to her self.
“Ok, let me in on the joke,” Grayson says.
April whispers to Grayson what Chris whispered to her. He scrunches his face. “That’s disgusting.”
“It wasn’t when I told it,” Erick responds. “Blasphemous, yes. Disgusting, no.”
“The Lord is in this holy temple,” a minister says from the pulpit at the front of the church.
An organ begins to play as the choir, wearing dark blue robes, makes its way down the center aisle, splits in the middle and files around the pulpit to meet up again in the middle of the choir stand behind the pulpit. The ministerial staff walks into the sanctuary behind the choir and takes their respective seats in the pulpit.
“All praise to God…” the choir begins singing as various members of the congregation stand up and wave their hands. An enthusiastic April jumps up and starts to wave her hands. Chris smiles, looks around and stands up as well. Grayson, still feeling out of place, stares blankly ahead. A smile creeps across Erick’s face as he thinks about how much fun he had singing in his college’s gospel choir with Everett, his roommate and best friend.
“I should call Everett,” he thinks to himself.
Grayson looks over at Erick for some guidance as to what to do. Erick stands up and then Grayson slowly does the same.
At the end of the song, everybody applauds. Grayson sits down but the drummer clicks his sticks together, the organ begins to play another song and the choir starts clapping to the beat.
Erick looks over at Chris with a look of surprise that he’s keeping the beat. A lady in the row behind him shouts “yes!”, prompting April to do the same and causing Erick to chuckle at her exuberance.
Grayson starts to clap but finds himself unable to find the beat as easily as Chris, so he jams his hands into his khakis.
Chris and April sway back and forth, waving their hands in the air as if they truly were at a rock concert. Erick shakes his head and smiles.
The song leader encourages people to take to the aisle if they needed more room. April watches as a few members of the congregation do this and motions for Grayson to let her out. She steps out of the pew and into the aisle. She looks back and reaches for Chris but he smiles and shakes his head. April goes back to clapping and swaying. She and another congregant catch each other's eyes. The other congregant walks up to April, grabs her by the hand and raises them both up in the air.
A few minutes later, the song ends and everybody applauds. Some people wave their hands in the air and others shout, “hallelujah!” April does both as she hugs the congregant from the aisle and takes her seat.
"That was so much fun!" she whispers excitedly to Grayson -- who just shakes his head.
The worship leader takes to the podium on the pulpit. “Praise the Lord, everybody," he says.
“Praise the Lord,” the congregation responds in unison.
“Yes! Praise the Lord!” April exclaims.
“We would like to welcome all of our visitors this morning. Thank you for choosing the Praise Tabernacle. We would like all of our visitors to stand and be acknowledged.”
April and Chris jump up immediately. Erick stands up reluctantly. A few more visitors in other areas of the church stand as well.
The worship leader and some of the congregants chuckle. “Well, I guess we’ll start here at the front,” the worship leader says.
“Hi, everybody. My name is April,” she says as she turns around and waves. She pulls a still-sitting Grayson up by the arm and continues. “And this is my boyfriend Grayson. He’s a bit shy.”
“Well, we welcome you and your shy boyfriend here this morning,” the worship leader replies to light laughter from the congregation.
“Thank you!” April replies. “We’re having a blast here this morning.”
Several congregants say, “Amen”. The worship leader smiles and points to Chris.
“Good morning, everyone. My name is Chris and this is my boyfriend Erick,” Chris says.
Erick’s eyes widen. There’s a murmur in the crowd and Chris realizes what he just said. “I mean this ‘boy’ is my ‘friend’.”
Erick slaps his hand on his forehead. “That’s not much better, Chris.”
A very uncomfortable Grayson stands up, steps out into the aisle, turns and heads to the back of the sanctuary. “Next time please get me a mezzanine,” he says to an usher on his way out of the church.
“I think we’re going to go now,” Erick says to everyone as he motions to Chris and April to follow Grayson. “Don’t worry. We’ll just benedict ourselves. So may the Lord watch…until we meet again... Amen."
Erick rushes Chris and April out the door. "Can you believe he called me, 'boy'?" Erick says to an usher on his way out.
“That was fun,” Chris says outside the sanctuary.
“Really? Fun?” Grayson responds.
“Yeah. We should totally do this again," April adds.
"As long as 'we' means you and Chris," Erick says. "Grayson and I will just stay at home, watch football and scratch ourselves into heaven on your coattails."
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