We went to church.
We arrived late and there were a lot of people. So it was standing room only. It was a beautiful warm day, perfect for a wedding, and the inside of the little church was cool and full of the smell of flowers. We slipped down a side aisle and hid behind a pillar. I was surprised to see Jack and Jimmy there, and blow me, Si too. Had Josh invited them? Why? Everything was kosher for a while, boring but kosher. Not having a seat proved to be an advantage as we didn’t have to bother about all that stand up, sit down, kneel down malarkey. But then the preacher got up and the sermon started. The preacher was the local vicar, been around for years. I didn’t know him but my old man had done some furnishing work on his house and they’d been on nodding terms ever since.
The old guy was having a bit of trouble reading the Bible bit before he started talking, the print was too small or his glasses were the wrong sort. That’s when Josh stuck a finger in the air and volunteered to read it for him. There was a bit of commotion at first cause this was well unplanned, but then Josh’s cousin, the bride, saw it was him and look well chuffed that he’d volunteered. Josh gave her a big grin and stepped up to read.
‘Many have dreamt of freedom. Of captives set free, wrongs put right, cruelty replaced with justice, abuse displaced by kindness. Martin Luther King dreamt. So did Ghandi. Mandela, Mother Teresa and Bono. They all dreamt and the dream goes on and with the living of their lives they give their dream to us. But today I’m here to tell you – this is more than a dream. The dream is giving birth to reality. You see, the God of hope is coming, and actually is already here, heavily disguised. In the cracks, in the shady corners, in the mess and the stains of everyday life. In the slums and the brothels, in the whispers of the humble and the screams of the wounded. He sits in dark prisons and ill-equipped hospitals, in the foodless kitchens and freezing homes. He’s the eyes of the blind and ears for the deaf. Life for the dead and freedom for captives. The great Eddie Izzard once described the church as a place full of people with no muscles in their arms. Well, wake up, cause I’ve come to put the muscles back.’
(Extract from Sons of Thunder (a modern retelling of the gospel) by D. Hopwood, pub. Authentic Media)