“Sin will kill you!”
I was pretty sure the preacher was talking directly to me, at least he was pointing directly in my direction. It was my first time back in the church in over a month. There always seemed to be something that got in the way of my attendance. Maybe it was sin.
The little round preacher was bouncing up and down with excitement. His belly jiggled with each syllable of condemnation. “If you don’t change your ways now and quit all your sinful ways, the devil will drag you right down to hell with him.”
I pictured myself on a kind of “Chutes and Ladders” of salvation. If I smoked, I slipped down. If I attended church every time the doors opened, I climbed up. If I drank a beer while watching the game, back down I went. Sin really was a slippery slope
The more excited the preacher got, the more the audience participated. “You drunkards and druggies and homosexuals need to wise up and walk right. Sin has your days numbered.” The preacher seemed to have a particular dislike for the BIG sins. It was like those people had a direct chute to hell. Not once did I hear him condemn the speeders or cursers or procrastinators, but then those are little sins.
Through out his tirade against sin, the belly flailed around with the excited preacher.
He worked the crowd into a fury. All around me the congregation was on their feet clapping and spouting support. “You tell them brother.” “Go on!” “Amen!” They knew the importance of all those sinners finding their way to salvation.
Ever so slowly, the frenzy died down. The march against sin was over for now. The music stopped and the preacher stepped behind the microphone. “Don’t forget tonight’s fellowship supper. There will be plenty of food there, so be sure to join us. I’ll be there. You can tell by looking at me that I like to eat and am not one to miss a meal.”
“Gluttony.” I coughed from behind my hand, but by then the congregation was speeding out of the parking lot trying to beat the Methodists to the nearest restaurant.