Gregory and Jasmine stare at the letter together in silence. After they finish reading it they kneel down by the altar and bow their heads for a few minutes, each praying in their hearts.
“Let’s go and see Father Ed.” Gregory’s soft voice echos in the church.
“I am ready.”
They both reach the basement, which was a large open space with cots on one side, and a dining hall on the opposite side with some bathrooms to the back and a small open kitchen in one corner.
In the cots area the notice a man laying down on one of the cots. As they start to walk towards him, Father Ed sits up and looks towards their direction. He then stands and walks towards them to meet them.
“Good morning my children, you must be Jasmine and Gregory.”
“Hello father,” they both respond at the same time.
“Would you like something to eat?”
They both politely nod, “Okay then follow me to the kitchen area, there is a small table there you can sit while I prepare a few things.
They follow, not really knowing what the old man was talking about. They both thought that he looked quite old. They had not seen old people, or at least people that looked old for a long time.
Both of them sit around the small table in the kitchen area as Father Ed moves around the counter, starts to pull somethings out of the cupboard and prepare a meal. All canned food, for not much fresh grew anywhere. The cans were old but the contents in them were good. He manages to make scrambled eggs a few round pieces of ham and a few bread cakes. The old electric grill still worked.
He brings plates and forks and then joins them at the table. They sit staring at the food, not knowing what to do, it smelled good but they had not seen real food for a long time, it was a thing of the past and they were told it was not good for them.
“I am sorry, you don’t like it?” Father Ed notices the look on their faces.
“We are sorry,” Gregory responds, “but we have not eaten this kind of food for a long time.”
“All we have eaten for the last thirty years is Synfood.” Jasmine finishes Gregory’s thought.
“Oh yes I remember folks talking about that through the years as they come here and away from the world.”
Jasmine grabs the fork and courageously takes a bite from the eggs, “wow what a strange sensation, but I think it tastes good. Then she takes a bite out of the ham and bread cake.
Gregory seeing her eat, picks up his fork and samples the food. “hmm… it is different in my mouth, but I think you are right it does taste good.”
Father Ed sits and smiles at them for a minute, he had seen these expressions a lot in the last few years as people have come from cities far and wide. He then stands and goes to the counter and grabs two cans of juice.
He sets them before the couple and sits back down. “I remember a long time ago when things tasted even better than this, when there were fresh things to eat, but those days are gone for me. Maybe you two will see them again.”
They finish their food and then reach for the juice and drink it. “This tastes good too.” Gregory exclaims.
“Sure does,” Jasmine agrees.
Father Ed clears the table and sits back down. “Now Lemach told me about you two and he said that you needed instruction in the Faith.”
“Yes, and Philomena has guided us here so we can see the truth.” Jasmine replies.
“She was a beauty of body and soul,” a faraway sad look comes on Father Eds face.
“I am sorry, I did not mean to sadden you.”
“No you did not, it is just the physical loss of her. I know she is with God.”
“We know that too, she came and helped us.”
They both take turns relating what had happened to them since they first received the communication from Philomena on Jasmin’s device. Hours pass as they are steeped in the story.
“I see you both have come a long way together on this journey so far.” He pauses for a moment, “are you ready to be married?”
“Married?” Gregory responds with a questioning look.
“I keep forgetting you have a lot to learn, and there is no time like the present.”
Two weeks pass as Father Ed, Jasmine and Gregory spend all their time together in close communion and instruction. They progress in the understanding of the true faith, and their love for God deepens and grows. They begin to understand the proper order of their relationship and realize they are called to Holy Matrimony.
After a month passes and at the beginning of the first day of the week, the Lords Day, they get ready for their reception into the church and their marriage. By this night they will have the experience of truly becoming one flesh.
“Lemach has granted me, by the laying of his hands upon me, the seat of honor, although I am not worthy, of the seat of bishop, which means I will be able to receive you fully into the church.
Father Ed fully clothed in his vestments and he found a gown for Jasmine and a suite for Gregory. The clothes were not syntech but actual cotton clothes from ages past. Father Ed looks at them both with a beaming smile, “aah what a glorious day that God has ordained for us,” with that statement he begins the first three ceremonies.
After their baptism they kneel and receive the Lord for the first time with eyes wide open to the truth of it all, and they could not help the tears that fell from their eyes. After a few minutes Father Ed brings holy oil and anoints them again for the sacrament of confirmation.
“Now that you are fully received into the church please stand my children and let us unite you in the sacrament of marriage.”
The fourth ceremony begins with Father Ed standing a few step up on the altar looking down on both of them, “I pronounce you Man and Wife in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” He makes the sign of the cross on them as he says the words, “Gregory, you may kiss your bride.”
Both of their hearts were leaping for joy, Gregory moves closer and kiss his wife for the first time. Seconds later, a loud crack splits the silence and Father Ed falls down the steps before them, and a river of blood starts to flow down the steps.