Last week the Captain found the roof of his church torn off…
A few hours later, the congregation had assembled, staring at the ruined church in shock. The Captain walked among them, his face burning, eyes to the ground.
A hand was laid on his shoulder, “Captain, are you alright?”
The Captain turned to see Tim, the tailor. “I’ll be OK, Tim,” he nodded, passing a hand over his face, “I have to be.”
“No-one blames you for this, you know,” Tim continued, following his friend’s aimless wanderings. “This isn’t natural.”
“No,” the Captain frowned. “Which, I suppose, is why we should ask the bishop what to do next.”
“He’s already on it,” Tim pointed with a hairy arm, to where the bishop was climbing onto a rock. He signaled to one of his parishioners, whose voice, commanding silence, echoed across the crowd.
“Friends,” the bishop boomed. “Either there is some other force at work here, or God is trying to test our faith. We need to prove our faithfulness to Him who rules over all. We must pray! We will rebuild this roof, and while we do so, there will be a constant prayer vigil in the Peel church. Each one of you will take a turn, and we will defeat this evil! Amen!!!”
His Amen could have brought down an entire church roof all by itself, thought many in the crowd, and they dutifully repeated the Lord’s Prayer and many other prayers, there in the grassy meadow.
So the vigil was kept, and the new roof was raised. Beam by beam, slate by slate, the Captain watched hopefully. Surely this would work.
In a few Sundays time, the roof was ready, and once more the surrounding villagers went to bed on Saturday night.
Not a peep sounded from any home that night. No babies cried, no old men snored. The houses lay calmly under the full moon, while each occupant lay as though dead.
In the fresh light of dawn the Captain woke, rubbing his eyes. “That was amazing. I haven’t had such a good sleep in ages,” he yawned.
Quickly he dressed, broke his fast, then joined the other people making their way up the valley to the church. The trickle of people soon became a stream as they climbed, and the sun rose higher and higher in the shimmering blue sky.
Round the last bend they came – and the entire mass of people stopped still, to a man. There, again, was the roof scattered across the grass.