Written 16.01.2007 – 19:05:21
Jesus Mary and Joseph. I am so bloody cold I feel like I’ve spent the afternoon in freezer.
I’ve just got back with the offspring from her bible class.
Once a month, me and the offspring head off to the local church to learn about the good Lord.
Church halls ain’t changed. They’re still vast empty unheated spaces with drab walls, lino floors, uncomfortable plastic chairs and pictures of Jesus everywhere.
One advantage of going to a bog standard Catholic church is that you are not visually attacked by vast A1 fluorescent posters proclaiming the love of God, and the second coming. I’ve always been told to leave at least an hour between the first coming and the second coming. Isn’t Jesus leaving his second coming a bit late?
So, at 5.15pm we all piled into the hall. For once we were on time. I’d started putting on my extra ten layers of clothing about half an hour before we left home. Don’t you just hate thermal underwear?
At 5.pm the « ladies » Sophie and Evelyn came out – two erstwhile members of the Parish who look after the junior Bible group.
Tonight’s lesson – « Who is Jesus? » They will attempt to answer this age old question in just under an hour, providing all the kids actually shut up.
So who is Jesus?
A sea of hands
« He’s the son of God. » says the impeccably turned out girl in the row behind us. Girl’s mother smiles and pats her on the head.
« Jesus is the son of Joseph ’ shouts the fat boy at the back
« Jesus is my friend » rasps the thin spotty boy with glasses and close cropped hair who looks like a trainee serial killer.
« Very good » croon Sophie and Evelyn
Time to stand up for the song.
« Have you learned it children? »
« My mummy and me didn’t do the song » screams Juliette
Juliette’s mum goes the same shade of red as her sweater.
« Shit we didn’t listen to the CD » whispers dad to the offspring. « Just mouth h it.»
After the song, the sign of the cross. We haven’t revised that either.
« Remember » chirps Sophie. « Right hand on the right shoulder to finish the sign. »
Everyone crosses themselves. The offspring finishes with left hand on left shoulder. Dad laughs it off as the perfect mums with perfect kids glower at him.
Time to look at the work we are supposed to have done.
Every child in the room had a perfect book. All the pictures neatly coloured. All the questions answered in neat copperplate writing. Our book is obviously less than perfect. Hey folks, I’m not a stay at home mum who can spend all day doing my kid’s Bible study book.
After the inspection, the story of Epiphany.
« Were the Three kings really kings ? » asks Sophie
Numerous wrong answers from the perfect kids
Up shoots the offspring’s hand
« No, they were wise men ’ she says
« Very good » chirps Evelyn
« YEEEEEEEEEES » whispers dad. We’ve scored a point against the perfect parents. In Bible study terms, this is the equivalent of a Zidane World Cup goal.
The session carries on.
Just before the end Sophie asks the children if they have any questions about Jesus.
Instantaneously, children produce long lists of perfect handwritten questions.
The offspring has scribbled one question on a Post It note. – « Why is Jesus the Son of God? »
The perfect parents and their perfect kids all file home. They climb into their SUV’s and speed off into the night.
We climb on board my beat up car.
On the way home.
« Daddy? »
« Yes darling? »
« Jesus was lucky. He had two daddies. »
« That’s right babe »
« You never really had a daddy at all. »
Time to wipe away a tear.
Hey everyone. If you ain’t got faith in God. Keep the faith in your kids.