This is the 14th contribution to His Grace’s emergency team ministry during the coronavirus pestilence. The author has been enjoying Cranmer’s blog for some years, and is not actually a chef.
Easter 2021. The country remains in lockdown due to multiple coronavirus reinfections from unknown sources. Restrictions on church meetings continue. A small group of readers of Cranmer’s blog have become disillusioned with virtual church and decided to take the radical step of meeting each other. Travelling under cover of darkness, they arrive in time for sunrise on Easter day at the decaying parish church of St Linus-in-the-Shyte with all Athyists.
Notamachine: Let’s call it ‘Room’. It’s like ‘Zoom’, only without a machine. You’re really there and you actually speak to one other. Do you think it might catch on?
Chefofsinners: Where’s Brian? He was here a minute ago.
Len: I think he left. Maybe you shouldn’t have worn that tee shirt.
Inspector General: The Higher Understanding has it that the angelic beings removed him on an electric skateboard and have frozen his body in preparation for abduction by aliens.
BrianR: I’m over here. There’s a Latin inscription on the wall: Periculum. Vespertilio et VG. It doesn’t make any sense. Vespers… evening prayers? Vespa…
(Brian is interrupted by the noise of a motorbike engine)
Sarky: It’s Waine Ilakura.
Lain Iwakura (for it is she): I’m called Lain. I am a woman. Stop misgendering me.
Sarky: Never mind. Take it like a man. Anyway, we’ll just have to agree to differ. I know what I think and you won’t ever change it. I’m an atheist, you know. I just find it interesting to see how Christians, er, risk arrest to celebrate Easter.
Happy Jack: Mother Theresa has said, “Yesterday is gone, tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today, let us begin.”
Cressida DeNova: Jack’s trying to tell us something, but he can only communicate by quoting Mother Theresa… I think he means ‘get on with it. It’s nearly sunrise’.
(Congregants move outside)
David: Dearly beCovid, we are gathered here today in the sight of God, although hopefully not in the sight of Plod, to witness the rising of the sun.
Ray Sunshine: Come on sunrise!
Carl Jacobs: Your desire to expedite sunrise by your own means is simply a manifestation of the human state of rebellion against God. You are powerless to effect sunrise. If it occurs, it will be because God has ordained it to be so.
(Congreants sing a government-approved hymn)
All: And did those feet in ancient times,
Make unauthorised non-essential journeys upon England’s mountains green?…
and was Virusalem builded here…
(Sun rises. A stream of bats appears over the horizon and flies into the church tower to roost)
BianR: Hmm. Vespertilio… bats.
Pubcrawler: Time for breakfast. I could use a pint and a bacon sarnie.
(Murmers of agreement)
Carl Jacobs: Your desire to effect breakfast by your own means is a manifestation of your state of rebellion against God. If breakfast is ordained of God then it will arrive at his appointed time…
(Carl realises he is alone: everyone else is eating breakfast. He turn to walk towards the church. A voice is heard from above.)
Voice from above: Stay exactly where you are!
Carl Jacobs: Lord?
Voice from above: This is the Derbyshire Constabulary. We have you under drone surveillance.
(Meanwhile, inside the church, Brian is re-examining the inscription.)
BrianR: Periculum vespertilio. That means ‘Danger Bats’, but what on earth is ‘et VG’?
Martin: Roman numerals. ‘V’ means five. Bats and 5G. Is there a mobile phone mast in the church tower? This could be the source of the coronavirus outbreaks!
Anton: Nonsense. It is a scientific impossibility for radio waves to transmit a virus. This is a classic piece of misdirection. What’s in that tower?
(Congregants break open the door of the bell tower to reveal a room transformed into a laboratory. A giant pangolin sits at a bench injecting bats.)
Anton: It’s a French Pangolin! Subspecies ‘Pangolinus Gallicus’.
Pangolin: Jes suis revenu! It is I, Pango Linus! And not one of you fools recognised me! For a whole year I have kept you Christians in lockdown! Sweet revenge for banning me! Sweet revenge for Brexit! And you will never prove it! Ha ha ha…
Voice from above: This is the Derbyshire Constabulary. You are under arrest.
And so it was that Cranmer’s congregants saved Merrie England from the coronavirus, and returned to the joys of insulting one another and falling out with each other online.