It used to be a game. Like I guess every kid in town (in the world?) church bored the pants off us. So we messed around. After prayers the pastor with those shot-to-death eyes would say ‘in the name of the lord’ and the congregation would wobble and say ‘Amen’. But in the little gap of breath down where we stood we made our own prayers.
In the name of the lord. Poo. (We were kids.) (And while we were giggling, Amen.)
In the name of the lord. Stupid. (Amen).
We got older and braver. The words were pussy unless we did something too. We knew better than our parents that words were no good on their own. They needed acts.
So it was In the name of the lord. Poke.
There were times when the pastor used to whip the congregation up. Just kept going and going after prayers with that line like it was some holy mantra. All these mothers and fathers of our friends swaying with one arm in the air, repeating amen, amen. We left it late so it sounded like our words came first.
In the name of the lord Pinch Amen. In the name of the lord Amen. Stamp In the name of the lord Amen. Punch In the name of the lord. Amen.
And at home father would whip the buckle of his belt at us. Silence, he told us, In the name of the lord. Then we started hating god.