Bringing in the Sheaves

CircleoftheWay

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A short story that I wrote a couple of years ago. I chose the hymn sung by the Gospel group in honour of an old Aussie flame who whenever any mention of religion was made would laugh and sing out "bringing in the sheaves", clapping her hands. It always made me laugh, and still does to remember it. Anyway, the story (loosely based upon real events but with names changed to protect the guilty):-



He was afraid of being late. Just the previous Wednesday he had come into the Gospel Hall only a few minutes after the start of prayers and the disturbing rustle and loud "tut tuts" still echoed in his mind. One must not keep the Lord waiting.

He passed a man sleeping in a doorway, not giving him much of a glance, and carried on down the sunday morning street, heading for the distant corner. He could see his small group already beginning to congregate, the familiar faces, the microphone already set up. One, Daniel Wollett, unelected leader, was busy with his sign and bible, organising.

Reaching them he said a few hello's and was greeted. Not really late this time. Mercy. Forgiveness.

As the group settled down, Wollett placed the sign, a placard, down against the foot of the microphone, it's legend facing the street:

"Where Will YOU Spend Eternity?" it read.

Returning to the group, Wollett suggested "How Great Thou Art" as the opening hymn. Each finding the page, and with no accompaniment, they gave voice. A few passers-by looked across but continued on their way.

The hymn finished, Wollett gathered himself, an ungainly man. He now went lumbering forward, resembling a jungle fresh orangutan, arms a-gaggle and rump extended; though more perhaps a latter day Quasimodo, a thick black bible clasped in hand. Reaching the microphone, he gripped it firmly, then immediately pointed down to the sign beneath.

"Where will you spend eternity" he boomed. Then a calculated pause.

"Yes, my friends, where?" he resumed.

Friends? One really did have need to wonder. Nevertheless, Wollett continued with his oft repeated sermon.

"Heaven or hell, there is no other choice!"

Wollett continued with his so well known exhortations.

"Some people say that they won't mind being in hell as all their friends will be there!"

Here he stopped, to chuckle, to demonstrate that he too had a sense of humour despite all evidence to the contrary. But then, gathering himself:

"But friendship is a God given gift and hell is where God is not. No, you will have no friends in hell."
Again he stopped, this time to allow the depth and subtleties of his theology to sink into the minds of his listeners, who by now were reduced to a couple of jeering youths and a stray dog, the rich in spirit having long disappeared up some opportune side alley.

Some dark clouds had been gathering. The small congregation looked about, perhaps concerned that a deluge might well drive them from the street even as Daniel Wollett concluded his sermon. But the rain held off and Wollett retired back from the microphone, allowing another member to step forward, a younger lad, less assured yet eager to speak. His message was of the imminent return of the Lord "in the air" and of the Rapture when "those who knew Him" would be called forth from the multitudes below to received their due reward.

"Those that have the Son shall have life. Those that have not the Son shall not have life" the young man announced.

Just then, as he said this, the man who had been seen earlier sleeping in the doorway approached the group, staggering slightly, much the worst for drink. As he reached the gospel group he stopped for a moment, lurched, pointed at them, and said: "Bastards"!

A great host of indrawn breaths, of shocked indignation. The young man at the microphone could do no more than repeat his last line, but now quoting the exact New Testament verse: "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." Daring disagreement.

The drunk man lurched slightly then began to move away. But turning at a distance he cried out: "We all have the Son!" and then with another accusing cry of "bastards" he staggered slowly away.

As the gospel group watched him slump down into another doorway further down the street, they regrouped back from the microphone, Wollett with his Bible open, pointing now at a verse considered relevant. The current speaker concluded his own message, this coupled with an exhortation to come forward to "accept the Lord", assuring all that it was never too late. Yet few there were who were even listening.

As storm clouds gathered a final hymn was decided upon. In a small semi-circle around the microphone, the group gave voice: "Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness......."

Thunder began to rumble, then an almighty crack. Yet the rain held off. All that then could be heard was the strangled strains of "Bringing In the Sheaves", while the drunken man, who had not long ago sunk down into the nearby doorway, appeared to have moved along.
 
Street corner preachers encourage me to cross the street. So I read it with trepidation and wonder as one would gawk at a train wreck. I found it all quite interesting and tame....I needed the next page
 
Street corner preachers encourage me to cross the street. So I read it with trepidation and wonder as one would gawk at a train wreck. I found it all quite interesting and tame....I needed the next page
Ah ha.... the rich in spirit?

Tame? The crack of doom and the Rapture? Who knows the next page?

:)
 
Ah ha.... the rich in spirit?

Tame? The crack of doom and the Rapture? Who knows the next page?

:)

Not I. But nor do I care. I don't fear the unknown...the actual known has enough pitfalls.

I am simply a planetary explorer. Spit out on this earth from my mother's womb a member of the lucky superm club experiencing a life on earth.

Tame? Yes, the same doom and gloom i have rejected for six decades...nothing new. But like I said, I was ready to turn the page.
 
Not I. But nor do I care. I don't fear the unknown...the actual known has enough pitfalls.

I am simply a planetary explorer. Spit out on this earth from my mother's womb a member of the lucky superm club experiencing a life on earth.

Tame? Yes, the same doom and gloom i have rejected for six decades...nothing new. But like I said, I was ready to turn the page.
It was simply a story. In part a rejection of doom and gloom, at least from my own perspective. But no conclusions. The page keeps turning.
 
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