A large queue of restless people from around the globe is stood before you. The snaking queue edges slowly forward. As you near the front, you can see the queue being divided by weary looking guards, into different aisles. Your turn comes -"surname," you give it. The guard examines a list and you get pushed brusquely into another queue, which leads up to some sort of check out. As you reach the front-"name," again, you give it and they input in onto a large computer. As you start to wonder where this is going, a DVD is thrust into your hand and you are moved into what looks like a final queue.
After a very long wait, a small screen with things moving on it starts to appear. As you grow closer, you can see that what you thought was relatively small turns out to be the biggest TV screen you have ever seen, huge, yet not so big that you cant see what is being shown. The scene makes you feel sick and you clutch your DVD tighter to you. It is of a man taking out a gun and shooting his screaming wife, then turning on his three helpless children and shooting them in the head. The screen goes black and the sad voice-over stops.
A man’s bone chilling cries are heard echoing through the queue. Muttering starts up, "he deserves to go to Hell." The word strikes you cold: Hell. Was that what all this was all about? The man’s cries grow fainter and the queue gradually moves forward another few paces. You look anxiously around. Everyone is doing the same. People's eyes meet and quickly drop. Suddenly another image flashes up on the screen the melancholy voice starts up again, describing what is being shown. It is of a little boy who is telling his mother that he didn't eat the cookie; unfortunately, he had... The image changes to him snapping to his sister, him promising to tidy his room and not doing it, the images start to speed up. Him taking food from the school canteen without paying for it, him breaking into someone else’s locker, faster and faster, him smashing a window and running off laughing... sin.
More, blood-curdling wails are heard dieing into the distance. The atmosphere is tense enough to cut with a knife. You gradually get close enough to see clearly what is going on. Members of the queue, upon reaching the front, have their DVD placed in a DVD-drive and loaded. The owner then is made to stand on a podium at the very front with a microphone and asked to confess that this was their sin being shown on the screen. Most were in tears before they reached the platform and begging the guards operating the DVD machines not to show theirs. The closer to the front you move, the more distraught the surrounding queue gets. The DVDs get so bad; you have to turn your face away to hide the tears.
Suddenly everything becomes still. You look up at the screen and it is white. Pure white. Empty, clean. One of the machine operators gives the owner a weary, but happy smile. "Thank goodness their are some left. I was beginning to get worried." The guard leads the owner of the DVD down a small, narrow walkway, unnoticed till now, and through a small door that previously looked insignificant. The door opens, a brilliant waft of everything good and happy that you have ever experienced flows through you. There is the distant sound of cheering and of a big celebration. It shuts. The feeling of ecstasy leaves as quickly as it came.
Another steps forward, with the same white screen. And again, the door is opened, but just before he is let through, a woman breaks away from the queue and dashes forward screaming. Her DVD starts playing, filling the screen with all the horrible things of her life. "Why didn’t you tell me more about Christianity, why didn't you tell me?" The door shuts. She howls and curses, hammering on the door. She is led, weeping, up to the podium. She is soon escorted back down and shown down a larger walkway, sobbing, along with many others, joining from different queues, all walking down to a large iron gate. Rough, bleeding hands drag them through and the gate shuts quickly with a clang. All that can be seen behind it is grey, endless grey.
"Why?" asked a balding man with a limp.
"If humans are going to turn their backs on their creator, who sent his only Son to die for them, they have no place in Heaven."
"But I thought it was just about being good, surely if you try your hardest, I've never cheated anyone, or lied, I'm a good guy."
"God detests sin because he made the world perfect. If he let you in just because you tried hard, he wouldn’t be a just God."
"God's not fair, what else was I supposed to do, I went to church and have always been generous to charities-"
"All other religions and theories rely on YOU doing stuff, trying to be good and do this and do that, the thing that makes Christianity true is that it is free, we cannot earn it, no matter how hard we may try, if we think on God's standard, we will never ever be good enough. Even Christians-"
"Well, how did they get through that door then?"
"They took God's gift to them with both hands, not one, it is too big to be taken with one hand. It will be dropped. They asked Jesus to forgive them for all the wrong things they have done in their lives. He is a forgiving God. He forgave them, swapped his one and only Son in their place, sent him to die on a cross, just so the sinners could go free. You are right, God isn't fair."
You look down, first at your DVD, then at your misshapen, broken leg and pierced heart, part of the number plate was still in it. You did not know when you were going to die.
-- By Rachel Shannon, age 15 -- (my friend!)