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The Preacher pranced in front of his congregation. “Remember man that you are dust. Dust I say, and unto dust, you shall return.”
He looked at the hapless man standing at the front of the gathering, looking more and more forlorn as the time went by.
“You are a sinner,” he roared pausing long enough for the sinner notion to sink in before continuing. “You sinner will burn forever in the fires of hell, your skin will sizzle and flake away layer by layer, the pain will be more than you ever imagined and all the while we will be up in heaven basking in the everlasting love of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
By now the preacher had worked himself up into a lather of perspiration, and he loved it when he knew he had the congregation in the palm of his hand.
He had one more statement of damnation to deliver before he took a break while the congregation dipped into their pockets to fill the collection plate.
Over to his left, he noticed a man in a dark cloak standing there with a scythe in his hand.
The preacher had heard stories of this man, they said you saw him at the moment of your death.
He felt a sudden pain, and the man was standing before him.
“That was quite a speech,” said Death looking down on him. The Preacher looked back, and in his head, a voice said, “No I’m not ready yet.”
Around him there was a flurry of activity as CPR was being given, phone calls for help were being made, and the preacher’s wife was screaming something about he hadn’t signed his will.
Death had a habit of letting things take their course, people needed to say goodbye and all that. So, he allowed the preacher to slowly slip into his eternity.
“Shame,” said Death, as he gathered the Preachers soul, “all that talk of hell and fires and what have you, you’ll be disappointed when you get there.”
“I’m going to hell,” stammered to preacher’s soul.
“Afraid so,” replied Death, “but there’s no fires or things like that.”
“There’s not?” asked the preacher’s soul not convinced that what was happening was actually happening.
“No hell’s a lot of repetition, depending on where they assign you. Some souls find they like it, but that’s not a good thing as if they find out they ship you off someplace else. Best to pretend it is hell and get on with it.”
Looking down the preacher’s soul could see the dust was settling as congregation standing around his body began singing “Abide With Me”.
“Ironic, isn’t it,” said Death as they floated away, “if they only knew the last thing they’d want to do is abide with you.” With that, he chuckled to himself and looked at the preacher who saw nothing funny in what awaited him. It was the smell of sulphur and the dust from the congealed cess pools that alerted the preacher’s soul to its arrival.