Doomed either way?
A visiting friend wanted to see the famous local doom today, a piece I've always found intriguing but unsettling as I don't like to think of the systematic terrorising of the congregation. A bit unfair, given that nonattendance wasn't an option. And neither was nonbelief. These days church-going is all about uplifting, love and wellbeing, then it seems to have been Doom and Gloom. The Doom tells us what to expect on the Day of Judgement. So here's the order of events:
Rise from your grave. If you're lucky you'll still have your shroud, but probably not.
Proceed to Judgement. Get weighed. It's Archangel Michael if you deserve the Kingdom of Heaven, the devil if you are headed to Hell.
If you fail the test, expect to be corralled by red-hot chains into the (literal) jaws of hell. Devils with cattle prods will push you back in if you attempt to run away as these fools are doing.
The righteous - bishops, kings, queens - proceed to St Peter. No clothes are allowed, but headgear is necessary for identification purposes.
And here's the reward for a life well lived. It seems a bit of a let-down. Why does Heaven look like a prison?
You do have to wonder what the original viewers made of all this as they stared up at the chancel arch where the doom originally hung. One of the hell-goers is actually winking and waving. Is this a tiny indication that possibly this whole idea wasn't taken totally seriously by everybody? I like to think so.