Fragments from the Ancient Gospels of “The Church of a Pretty Good God.”
BY JAMES FOLTA and LUKE BURNS
[Originally published August 2, 2013.]
The Lord said, “The Kingdom of Heaven will be much like the kingdom of Earth—thou shalt still work, but thou shalt have nicer clothes, and for some a fancy headband. This is my covenant with you.” And the people said, “Huh. Well, we could do worse.”
With each turn of the staff, the water became warmer and warmer still. Ezrikia submerged his hand in the bucket and proclaimed that it had indeed become lukewarm. And the Lord said, “Not bad, right?” And the people were interested and decided it was not quite a miracle but certainly they would tell their friends.
So they prayed:
“Our father who art pretty nifty,
Keep up the good work.”
And it was not quite what the Lord had been hoping for.
When Hezimandion arose, he could find neither his cup, nor his bowl, nor his tunic, nor his sandals, nor his mead, nor his ass, and it took him longer than usual to find his plow. For Satan had hidden these things. And Satan chuckled to himself. And the Lord said, “Behold, this is exactly what I’ve been talking about.”
“Thou shalt keep the seventh day holy, and it shall be a day of rest. Unless thou hast something important to do and thou canst not do it any other day.” The people agreed it was very sensible.
“Who ate all my apples?” the Lord cried.
The Lord spoke, demanding a sacrifice. So the people gathered to choose an offering, but when each new offering was proposed they wailed, “Nay, that is too expensive.” At last they took Yekah’s old end table, which was hideously beset with scratches and matched no other thing in her chambers, and the strongest among them threw it upon a pyre. And the Lord looked down upon the offering and shrugged, and the people shrugged, and there was much shrugging.
Shasta was tending to his field when he came upon a burning bush. He tossed a bucket of water to douse the flame and the flame hissed but it was not a burning bush, it was the Lord.
The Lord said, “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.” And the people replied, “No other Gods? Even that one God with a crocodile head?” And the Lord conceded that the God with the crocodile head was hard to compete with.
With one note from the trumpet, the wall collapsed. The people cried, “Who built this wall?” And the Lord said, “Why did you not heed my warning about that contractor?” Verily it was the worst Jazz Festival the city had ever seen.
Magdeen asked, “Does anyone else think the Lord is too concerned with the way our daughters dress and braid their hair?” And the Lord struck him mightily with an open palm and cried, “Is that so? I am the Lord.” But later, He wondered if He had been too harsh.
The Archangel descended into the fields where the people toiled. The Archangel blew his horn and proclaimed, “Apologies for my delay, the Lord was supposed to wake me.” But the people had not been expecting him, so he decreed that they pay his apology no mind.
The Lord called Jesphabiah to the top of the mountain. At the summit, the Lord appeared and He was wearing a new hat. And Jesphabiah said, “Is there something different about you, o Lord?” And the Lord said, “Lo, I got this new hat.”
The Lord was greatly troubled and asked: “Do you guys even like me?”
And their prayers came to pass. The Lord made it so a great rain fell across the kingdom. But since the dark of night cloaked the land and all the people slumbered, none saw the miracle. And the Lord wept quietly.
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