Amelia and her late husband, George, may have shared the same address but over the last ten years or so they had shared little else. Even their circles of friends were different. Amelia turned up to her husband’s funeral wearing a bright floral frock. Apparently George had requested that people wear something bright to his funeral. As she moved up to sit alone in the front pew she noticed she was practically the only one who had bothered to wear something bright. It showed you how people cared. Even her friends hadn’t bothered to turn up.
Amelia sat throughout the service barely listening. The panegyrics and prayers droned on and on. All she could think was how little a mark she had made in her life: a futile marriage, no children, friends who had deserted her when needed. Those who saw her dab her eyes thought it was grief, but it was remorse. It was remorse for having lived such a trite life. From now on things would be different.
Amelia followed the casket out of the church as if she was in a trance. It was dreamlike, surreal, bizarre – whatever word you wish to use. As she descended the church steps she overheard a little boy say:
“Mummy, who was the funny lady up the front in the dress with flowers on?”
“She a bit strange,” said the mother. “She thinks she was Hector’s wife, but Hector’s wife died last year.”
It was then that Amelia realized she had gone to the wrong church.
It was Sunday morning. Emmeline’s alarm went off. The clock was telling her to get out of bed and go to church. Instead Emmeline turned over and snuggled sleepily into her warm bed.
Later she thought she would get up and make a lovely Sunday brunch. When she got out of bed she hit her head on the bedpost and died. Emmeline went straight to hell, where she will roast in a burning fire for eternity.
Adrian was a creature of habit; every Sunday morning at almost the same time he’d drive to get a roasted chicken from the supermarket to have for his dinner that evening.
Every week he’d drive past St Chad’s Presbyterian Church. There were always dozens of cars parked there for the Sunday service. Adrian hadn’t been to church for years. He thought, here are all these people making an effort and I’m basically too lazy to go to church. One day I will. Sadly though, he continued to drive past for another three years.
Blow it! thought Adrian one Sunday morning. Off he went. He found it difficult to find a park. He entered the church. Present were just three old ladies and a man in a wheelchair.
Where are all the people with the cars? asked Adrian of the minister.
Goodness, said the minister, don’t you realize we’re right next door to Dunkin Donuts?
Gunson wasn’t keen to go to the annual parish dance. They’re all into religion, said Gunson. Going to church was the last thing on his mind when he went to a dance.
You’re all of nineteen, said his mother, and it’s work, work, work. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
So Gunson grudgingly put on his best semi-casual attire and went to the dance. He walked into the church hall and there was Cressida! Cressida! He’d never laid eyes on her before. She was radiant. She was the best thing since sliced bread. He asked her for a dance, and they danced all evening.
How was it? asked his mother the next morning.
It was alright, mumbled Gunson.
A few weeks later, Gunson’s mother was puzzled.
I can’t understand why you’ve started going to church on Sundays, she said.
When he got a job that required he work Sundays, he couldn’t go to church on Sundays.
There was a service at his church early on a Wednesday morning. Cooper went to that, instead of attending on Sunday. He did that for three years.
The minister told him that Sunday was the Sabbath, and he was breaking one of the Ten Commandments by not keeping Sunday holy. Going to church on Wednesday didn’t make Sunday holy. It wasn’t good enough.