Admittedly it was strange that we had an entirely different group of children. I know not where yesterday's group went - but today we had all those who were at the Beaker Folk holiday club yesterday. They clearly recognised the godless ways and syncretistic tendencies of our neighbours. We did a quick survey of a couple of occasions of divinely ordained, sudden and definitely deserved demise in the Pentateuch.
First we considered the case of Nabad and Abihu. They offered strange fire before the Lord. We are not told in the Good Book in what way the fire was "strange" - whether it was cold, or effeminate, or a strange colour, or just looked odd. But God was displeased with it and struck those two men - sons of Aaron the Priest - dead.
We are not told how they died, but my suspicion is that the fire would have come out and consumed them. I therefore hope that we were not risking the condemnation of which we are warned in the Book of Revelation when we reproduced the demise of the sons of Aron by using a small dose of explosive in the censers.
I say "small dose". I had bought the explosive from Young Keith, who has a tendency to overdo things. Both Denzel and Ezraziah lost their eyebrows. But the children loved it. Surely, with the clapping and cheering, I thought to myself that the presentation of the Gospel, simply told, will always have the power to speak to the heart.
We then went on to the tale of Korah and his family and friends. And it was a marvellous effect as we pulled the lever on the trapdoor and Jehosaphat, fell into the pit like unto the men of Korah. I have never understood why Eileen's family felt the need to put a stage trapdoor in the middle of their family chapel. Jehosaphat played his part beautifully, although we forgot he was there and I have only just released him when his wife phoned to ask where he was. Surely he fell into the pit, but has been lifted up.
Then it was Denzel and Ezraziah's turn. Representing those who offered yet more strange fire from their censers, they disappeared into yet another pyrotechnic effect. Again, this was Young Keith's stage explosive. Ezraziah already having lost his eyebrows, he escaped as a brand plucked from the fire.
Not so Denzel, for he is an hairy man. Rushing headlong down the aisle with his beard and hair on fire, he flung himself into the baptistry to extinguish himself. Of course, in his panic he forgot that we do not leave the baptistry filled with water on the off-chance we have a sudden conversion. And so he like Jehosaphat plunged into the depths, with no water to break his fall. We rushed to throw pails of water over him. But then as the waters rose above his head we remembered that he was in head-first, and raised him once more to the land of the living, by his ankles. He is mostly well now. Although the bang on his head has caused him to think he is a Reformed Wesleyan, I am praying for him and am hopeful that both his body and soul can be healed.