I went to church on Sunday with my wife and daughter. It was a catholic church, Sacred Heart, in Portland, Maine. It's a great church, cavernous, lined with towering stained glass, some nice, big imposing steps and columns out front. It's a little run down, but a decent spectacle, especially if you're two (like my daughter).
We go there not because we're believers (I'm not and never will be), but because it's nice for Rosa to take in, lots to look at and listen to. Plus, the congregation there is great. There are a lot African immigrants (Portland sports a noteworthy immigrant population from Somalia and Sudan). There are kids everywhere and bright colors and life.
One of the readings was pretty good, Luke Chapter 13, 22-33. I contains one of those classic scriptural tidbits that are absolutely compelling. Powerful rhetoric, beautiful to envision if only because it is demonstrably false everywhere in real life: "There are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last." It's the usual bit about getting into heaven...where there are rewards for those who have nothing or foresake everything in life. There was even a doorman:
At this, I couldn't help but imagine Heaven's doorman as C.E. Hocksey of a Lenny Bruce bit by that name that I was listening to earlier on Sunday morning (I'm also not a believer in Lenny Bruce but he's an enjoyable spectacle if you're 32 and don't have cable (like me)). In it, he's trying to hire a ticket seller/taker by mail. (I haven't tracked down the audio for this bit online yet, if I do, I'll update this post. It's on a discography I have called Let the Buyer Beware). He wonders if the ticket seller would also be available for "companionship" and warns that the seller will likely have to deal with his psychotic (and fake, or at least borrowed from the news) father who shows up at shows and throws feces in the seller's face or leans against the the ticket booth, naked, with a sign tied to his unmentionables announcing that the ticket seller will "Kiss it" when we hit $1,500 in sales.
If heaven is anything like I imagine, there must be an awful lot of that going on around the front door.