Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It must be hell

Rev. Holmes had been a good pastor. He lived a holy life and set a fine example for his parishioners. He never cheated, or swore, or went to r-rated movies. He didn’t drink or dance or gamble. He lived a celibate life and renounced material wealth. He ate in moderation. He could quote the Bible, chapter and verse, on any topic. He was a good person.

And he devoted his life to helping others become good people, too. If the wrong kind of person happened to end up in his church on a Sunday morning, Rev. Holmes felt personally responsible for their salvation. You see, he could pretty much tell who was going to heaven and who wasn’t. The select few who lived holy lives, like he did, were in. And a whole lot of other people were out. People who drank alcohol, smokers, those who used the Lord’s name in vain, people who shopped on Sundays, unmarried girls who became mothers, divorced people, homosexuals, uppity women’s libbers, liberals, activists, lazy people who didn’t work and lived off the government’s money, kids who drove by the church blasting their rap music during Sunday services… They were all going to hell.

And so, Rev. Holmes did his best to turn these people around. The thing was, they never stayed at his church long enough to turn around. After they were rejected at the communion table, or after Rev. Holmes had a talk with them, that was all it took. He never saw them again.

Well, that is, he never saw them again until he died and went on to the here-after. When he got there he was shocked to see that he was in the same place with all those sinners. And they were dancing and feasting and drinking and playing cards and listening to rap music and doing all sorts of other things too shameful to mention. Such a wide assortment of sinners, all assembled in one place, Rev. Holmes had never seen in his entire lifetime.

“What’s the meaning of this?!” he wanted to know. “There has to be a mistake. On earth I lived a pure and holy life. And now you’ve sent me to the wrong place. I don’t deserve to spend eternity with these people!”

Rev. Holmes protested so strongly that he was referred to the person in charge.

Well, when he saw the person in charge he knew for sure that this was hell because it had to be none other than Satan himself. The person in charge was all different colors. The person had one brown eye and one blue eye. You couldn’t tell if the person was a man or a woman.

“Is there some sort of a problem?” The person in charge asked.

“Well, yes, there is,” Rev. Holmes said. “There’s been a terrible mistake. I’m obviously in the wrong place. All these sinners deserve to be in hell. But I’ve lived a pure and holy life.”

“Oh, I can assure you there has been no mistake on our part,” the person in charge said. “But I'm afraid you are quite mistaken yourself. For these people aren’t in hell, as you suppose. Quite the opposite. This is, in fact, heaven. All these people are in heaven.”

“The hell they are!” Rev. Holmes snapped.

“Yes, I see what you mean,” the person in charge said. “But it is the right place. You see, we don't separate people here. All people spend eternity together, in the same place. For all who come here with love in their hearts, it is heaven. However, for the ones who enter this place without love, for someone like you, well, you are correct. It must be hell.”

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