Once upon a time there was a scarecrow who stood in the middle of a field and every day, he observed, when bells rang, the farm workers would put down their tools and go off somewhere, for at least an hour he reckoned by the old broken pocket watch in the breast pocket of his ragged waistcoat.
And every day, he wondered, “Where are they all going to and what do those bells mean?”.
So, eventually, the scarecrow decided that he would find out and, waiting till all the workers had gone, he got himself down from the wooden frame that held him up and, following the sound of the bells to its source, he came to a little stone church and, opening the door just a crack and peering inside, he saw people sitting in rows of seats while the village priest, whom he had often seen riding past the fields on his bicycle, was now delivering some kind of lecture to them and then, high up on the wall behind the village priest he saw something else, an image of a man on a cross which, in his naive eyes looked very much like a scarecrow.
“They have a scarecrow inside?”, he wondered, “Why would they need a scarecrow inside where there are no birds?”.
But, just then, the scarecrow heard a loud, horrible cawing sound coming from high over the roof of the church and, looking up, he saw terrifying horned devils circling with flapping wings far blacker than the wings of even the darkest raven and, trembling, he thought,
“Oh. It must be to keep away those flying devils”.
However, then the scarecrow felt a tap upon his shoulder and, turning round, he saw a young bearded man who was dressed in white robes that seemed to glow as bright as the light of the sun, “Men cannot always see the crows that circle above their heads”, he said.
Looking more closely at the man’s face, the Scarecrow gasped because it looked exactly like the face of the man on the cross in the church, “How can you be in two places at the same time?”, he asked the man.
“I am everywhere. My spirit is in all things and in the hearts of all men”, he replied and then, from behind him the scarecrow heard the sound of singing coming from within the church and, when the people in the church sang, the demons that were circling and hovering above the church spires flew away angrily.
“Wow!”, said the Scarecrow, amazed,“It really works”.
After that day, the Scarecrow often went to the church and, secretly, sneaked inside so that he could listen to the priest deliver his sermons and sing along with the congregation and afterwards, he would come back to the field and deliver sermons to the birds and the little song birds would gather at his feet and chirp.
But then, one day, he made the mistake of sitting down next to a parishioner who was a rich, fat landlords wife and she complained to the priest that a dirty,ragged scarecrow had come into the church.
“I will not sit next to that horrible, raggedy scarecrow in church”, she protested, snootily.
And embarrassed, the priest made sure that the next day, when the scarecrow came to sneak in and listen, the church door would be locked and so, sadly, the next day, the scarecrow was forced to sit outside of the church and listen through the door.
What the scarecrow heard through the keyhole, however, was not a sermon or singing but gasps and shrieks because, the moment that the church doors were locked, the image of Christ on the cross that hung within the church came to life and, stepping down from the cross, it proceeded to walk down the aisle between the pews towards the door of the church.
“Oh lord, where are you going?”, asked the Priest unhappily.
“I am going out to see my friend, the Scarecrow”, said the apparition of Jesus, “I have no friends here”.
And so, frantically, the priest rushed and opened up the door of the church and welcomed the Scarecrow in and, once the Scarecrow had been given a seat in a place of honour at the front of the church, Jesus smiled and happily returned to the cross and, from that day onwards, the doors of the church were never shut to anyone who wished to hear the words of Jesus, even those like scarecrows, with ragged and tattered clothes.