So we’ve reached Sunday Morning at Ashton Community; the congregation is smaller, those who lost the vote having stormed off like small children who didn’t get a cookie, but Hank is much more at ease. We have another run-down of names, and are told that some of the “not-so-actives” turned out as well. Mary plays the piano while Hank leads the singing and total strangers start walking in. Yay, growth!
It took me a moment to realize that “Scion” was an angel, not yet another of the congregation members; he’s in attendance too, as well as Kroni and Triskal. The angels get a badass one-liner:
Signa was sickeningly polite. “I’m sorry, we cannot allow any more demons into the church this morning.”
Burn! No, literally, burn. In hell. Because you’re a demon. Ba-dump pish.
[Confession: My brain isn’t working at full capacity tonight, I’ve just completed about 5 hours of mind-melting homework for an online course I’m taking to beef up my resume.]
We get a nice little reading from Isiah that Hank notes he particularly loves.
“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.”
Is he going somewhere? Because I thought he was supposed to be eternal. I guess in the long run humanity is going somewhere (aka straight to hell), but the passage kind of sounds like He is planning to head off to Bermuda next week so you’d better drop by his office today and make sure you get the signature you wanted before he leaves.
Then we get to this odd statement, repeated by many parishioners: “We were starving [at Ashton United]”. One person saying it didn’t catch my eye too badly earlier in the book, but now two others directly liken their desire for a better pastor to “hunger” or “starvation”. Is this a common metaphor? “I was at Suchandsuch church, but I was starving,” sounds to me like it should be followed by, “so I skipped out early and went to Denny’s”. “Sheep without a shepherd” at least sounds more religious to me, what with the whole “The Lord is my Shepherd” thing.
Side note: there are at least four other churches in Ashton. How big is this small town again? Maybe it’s in the Deep South where the concentration of churches:population is higher.
Alright, here’s where it gets really weird. Mary comes up to her husband and one of the couples he was talking to, starting to introduce someone. She notices the someone has vanished, and seems slightly startled that he’s run off instead of coming up to meet the pastor. She passes on a message from him, however. Hank recognizes the person she’s describing, but the other couple insist nobody was sitting there.
“Praise the Lord!” [Andy] explained, and Hank hadn’t seen such enthusiasm in a long time. “Praise the Lord, there was nobody there. Pastor, we didn’t see a soul!”
Um…. wouldn’t you be a little concerned that your pastor’s wife is seeing things? Or at best shake that off as odd and assume you misunderstood? Why is your first thought “OMG ANGELS!”? Is that… is that normal too?
What am I getting myself into?