Monday, November 26, 2007

Sunday Supplement: The Wrong Sort of Spirit

Sir Richard Arcos here: I had meant to visit the Moreton-on-Rails Pentecostal Fellowship's morning service of healing and prophecy, only this was cancelled due to unforseen illness, so I visited the village's ancient Congregational Chapel instead.

The Chapel, known for its illustrious former ministers, one of whom went out to minister abroad and was eaten by the natives (he was called to minister on a housing estate in Liverpool), has recently acquired a new minister, and he is apparently a little nervous. More so than is perhaps advisable.

As he stood up in the pulpit, he took a drink of water. This was repeated at regular intervals. The children's talk was delivered with some reserve, but the 'long prayer' was more uninhibited. I must confess that I felt some of what he said was a little odd. I mean, when he asked for a blessing on the trees outside the chapel, on the sun and the sky and the chapel cat I was a little suspicious (although the cat was later appropriated by the Cat-Baptists). When he rose to deliver the sermon and almost fell over I became rather more concerned.

After starting off by telling us that the text was 'nice' while wearing a massive dopey smile, he proceeded to tell us that he was lonely when he was young. He took another gulp of water and added that he was a better preacher than Wesley, who he referred to as 'Johnny boy.' After a while he started to tell us that he'd go into the highways and byways and thump anyone who wouldn't come in. He stumbled and started to slur his words after another few gulps.

Then he started to say he loved everyone and was an awful failure. this while blubbing like a girl. Good taste prevented me from telling him to quit himself like a man. After another drink or two from the water glass, equilibrium was restored. He leaned on the pulpit and began to read slowly from his noted. He sank down in the seat and his voice slowed more and more. After a few minutes of this he stopped altogether.

The elders waited for a minute or two, then ascended the pulpit to check. He turned out to have falled asleep.
Further examination proved that that 'water' was in fact eighty per cent proof.

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