Father Thomas was well-respected in the small farming village, where for more than thirty years he lead weekly religious sermons, managed seasonal festivals, and oversaw important celebrations. Truly no child had been born during his tenure that he himself did not bless, weddings and funerals as well. In his soft-spoken way he gave counsel to those who sought it, and ever attempted to improve the lives of those he served.
There had been no doubt he was the right choice to lead the small congregation for the power of the deity coursed through his fingertips. With a touch and a small prayer he could mend broken limbs, ease the suffering of the diseased, and even drive out terrible afflictions of the mind. The village loved Father Thomas, and Father Thomas loved the village.
As happy as everyone was to see the aging priest however, it was a rare event that someone made the short and easy walk to his farmstead; everyone always waited for him to arrive at the church rather than attend him at home. At his farm, he once said, the lord’s real work was performed.
Thomas always had enough food for himself and the needy, even in the toughest of seasons, no matter how much of the planting and reaping months he spent caring for the village. In truth his farm ran very smoothly whether or not he was present at all.
In his fields the dead toiled, day and night, repaying the suns committed in life with back-breaking labor after death. The villagers knew full-well what was happening at his farm, and what Thomas’ aims were in raising the dead, but none wanted to face the prospect of visiting him and seeing a passed-on relative, eyes blank and skin tearing with decrepidation as it worked.
“Everyone is a sinner,” he often said, looking at each of the village residents. “And some day we will all be made worthy of the lord’s love.”
The youth thought it was a warm and welcoming phrase. The town elders found it horrifying.
How long—after they themselves passed—would they spend on his farm before being judged cleansed?
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