old time religion

a true account – my lack of belief in their mumbo-jumbo resulted in my being ostracised and called a pariah. Sometimes a guy’s just gotta do…

old time religion
my Nottingham church
of the Pentecostal persuasion
decreed a season of prayer and fasting
for a miracle healing
to restore the paralysed legs
of one of the elders.
I forwent my tea-break Wagon Wheel
slotted ‘sort out dodgy legs’
into my ‘exclusive’ prayer list
between an Irish Sweepstakes winning ticket,
and a parking space near the entrance at Tesco’s.
remembering my manners,
I added, ‘thank you very much, Jesus.’
truth be told my heart was not in it.
so, after the collection, when the pastor
cast Satan out from the congregation
and ordered doubters to leave the hall
before the miracle could fall on the faithful,
and the remnant shouted ‘amen! amen!’
I left my seat like a ‘last supper Judas’
and slunk the ‘parquet of shame’ alone
through the doorway into the foyer.
no sign of Jesus outside, as it happens –
he was probably knocking at some other door.
within the hall the believers went bananas –
ululating ‘alleluiathankyougodandpraiseyouJesus,’
splashing the elder’s strides with oil
singing, dancing, beseeching, demanding,
beating their breasts, wailing, reminding
the Lord of an entire week fasting,
and chanting rock-solid promises
‘in the name of the saviour’
compiled centuries ago by… someone or other.
three worshippers fell over – no surprise there – 
it happened fairly regularly,
and prophecies were sung in tongues.
I made myself scarce before the after-church cuppa.
… I was tempted to go, ‘I told you so’
as I helped heave the elder’s wheelchair
up the stairs the Sunday after
seeing as the lift was out of order
but nobody likes a smart-arse.

© coolhermit 2023
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