The man opted to spend eternity in the threadbare sanctuary only to learn that it was the real heaven. The gatekeeper of the more welcoming heaven told the man that the essence of hell is that it is populated by people who abandon their loyal friends for superficial gain, while the essence of heaven is loyalty and steadfast love.
Today in church
The sanctuary of my church is square in shape. The alter is in the northwest corner. Aisle radiate away from the alter like spokes of a wheel. Consequently, the blocks of pews are triangular in shape with the pointy ends close to the alter.
This works vert well as there is an abundance of the highly desirable seats in the back, close to the exits.
We arrived late today and were lucky to find seats in the very rearmost pew.
At offertory, the usher found herself with a dilemma. Three pews ahead of me there was a couple next to the aisle, 30 feet of vacant pew and a father with his young son at the far end.
The six year old boy solved her problem by bringing his dad's offering to the aisle, but then confused the matter by insisting on taking the basket to his dad. The usher relented and handed the brimming basket to the young man.
Something clicked in that young man's head as he started back toward his dad. He saw thirty feet of polished hardwood and his brain screamed: BOWLING!!!
Before anybody could blink, he accelerated like Franco Harris at the snap. His arm swung back. I heard a deep, indrawn breath from his dad as enlightenment dawned.
Half way down the "alley", the young man released the ball using the sidearm release as necessitated by the height of the pew and his diminutive stature.
His dad pounced, attempting to save God's money. The young man has a great future in bowling. Had there been pins at the end of the pew they would have EXPLODED. Dad was just a little bit too slow.
No joy in Mudville
After Communion I attempted to comfort the dad. I thanked him for bringing his son. I don't want to go to a church that does not welcome children. Churches are not for perfect people. For one thing, they don't exist. For another, Jesus explicitly stated that he came for the sinners.
Personally, I thing God used that young man as his agent on earth. He probably wanted to count the collection before it went into the office.