I am amazed to find I have not blogged about the other interesting incident which happened at church last Sunday. Amazing considering the impact it had, especially on Smudgelet. Our church lunch – a combined “family lunch to reward us for enduring an interminably long and excessively uninteresting Annual Church Meeting” and an 80th birthday party for a lovely old lady in our congregation and paid for by her family – was invaded by two people who simply walked in and began to shower us with verbal abuse in a very aggressive manner. They were decidedly unpleasant, to say the least (though I had to suppress the giggles when they commented that our minister was an abomination to the Lord as he had a belly like a six-month pregnant woman!). They told our old ladies – one of whom celebrated her 100th birthday in January – that they were on their way to Hell very soon. When Smudgelet began to cry in terror, they declared it good as he was obviously on his way there too, there was no hope for him as he ate his fill while other children starved. (I did not hit them – Good job I was too busy comforting my child to get any closer to them at the time – my Christian charity was sorely tested!)
I was caught on the hop a bit as during the preceeding meeting I had raised the issue of how we welcome and meet the needs of the people off the street who come into our church services from time to time, how we could reach out to them though not necessarily by giving them money. (A frequently used approach from them is to say they’re stranded on the Island and need money to get back to the mainland – our new response to this is to make them a coffee and biscuits, have a bit of a chat, and then when they’re ready we take them to the ferry and buy them a ticket and wave them off!).
It was a real dilemma for me. Do I take my terrified child to safety or do I stay to help protect the others, our mostly elderly congregation. I managed a compromise, taking my son into a neighbouring room with glass walls where I could keep an eye on proceedings while I comforted him and then, when the twosome walked out, taking him for a walk through the town to see if we could spot the local policeman while we talked together and calmed down. “Who do you trust and believe most, Smudgelet – them or Jesus? So if Jesus said he had a room waiting for us in God’s house in Heaven and if those rude and aggressive people said we are going to Hell, which one do you think might be right?” Less easy to answer with conviction, though, was the question “If they can just burst into church like that, what’s to stop it happening again? What’s to stop them bursting in our house or into my school? What if you hadn’t been with me?”
As Smudgelet and I walked back to church we discovered the police had been and gone and were off on the couple’s trail to arrest them. And what consternation did we find in the church? I guess you don’t get to be 100 by being frightened by every little thing – everyone was talking merrily and tucking into their apple pie and cream and their cups of coffee!
Still, we made front page of the local paper! http://www.iwcp.co.uk/News/SATANIC_COUPLE_DISRUPT_CHURCHES_1.aspx