January 28, 2005

Unholy trinity

I was coming home from a concert on Wednesday night and took the Northern Line from Moorgate to Stockwell. Round about Bank, a young lady carrying a couple of small bags got on and took the seat immediately to my right. As soon as she was settled she reached into one of her bags and took out a small Bible.

This is not an unusual sight in London. In fact, on a bus on a Sunday morning you'd be lucky if you didn't see so much a single Good Book. It's not even unusual to see the reader take out a highlighter pen and mark certain passages for her future attention. There never seems to be anything particular profound in the highlighted passages (naturally, I was watching over her shoulder to see if I could see precisely what was so compelling about the Gospel According To Mark, other than it being the shortest of the four) and eventually they put down their pen, and if you are lucky, put away their Bible to, as did the lady in question.

Except that she only put it away in order to get out another one - slightly larger than the previous one, except apparently torn so that it was missing part of the Old Testament at the front. This might explain why, after a couple more minutes, she put that Bible away - and got out a third one, again larger than the previous one, and brighter too, a big yellow Good News Bible.

At this point I began to fear that we were in for a reprise of the loaves-and-fishes story (from which of the gospels, I cannot recall, but I could have asked the lady to look it up for me). I could imagine Bibles emerging from up sleeves and under people's hats, always assuming the power of God worked on the Underground and didn't require direct contact with the sky. Fortunately, Stockwell was the next stop, and I got up and left, without waiting to see what wonders were to be performed.


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