One Sunday morning, Father Micheal wakes up, looks at the azure sky and thinks to himself, Sod it! Think I will call in a sicky and go and play golf. He calls his Curate and tells him he feels terrible to have to cut out of his Sunday services, but he is really sick.
The Devil turns to God and asked "Are you going to let hime get away with this blatant dereliction of duty?"
"Nope." Replied God. "Just watch and learn."
Father Micheal decided that he aught to drive a distance away so he isn't recognised by any of his parishoners. He drives to High Elms near Farnborough in Kent and manages to get a green fee.
Father Micheal lines himself up on the first tee, takes a swipe at the ball and smashes it, straigh and true, past the bunker, splitting the fairway and leaving himself a short pitch to the sloping green. He selects his pitching wedge, takes a practice swing then hits the ball. It lands just inside the greenside bunker, skips on for a bounce or two, then rolls in a slow arc towards the pin, leaving a six inch up-hill put for birdie which he makes. Father Micheal is delighted.
"You are rewarding him for his slothfulness." Says the Devil.
"Shhh." Replies God. "Watch and learn."
Father Micheal slides his tee shot to the second around the trees on the right, his ball lands in the middle of the fairway leaving no more than a short wedge to the green. He birdies the hole. He pars the third and pars the difficult fourth.
Then, at the fifth, a short par three, Father Micheal's nine iron bounces once on the green and into the hole. His first ever ace!
"Come on God, the guy is playing better than professional golf here, do you not care he has bunked off work?"
"Shhh!" Says God. "Watch and learn."
Father Micheal continues, either paring or birdying his way around the course. Even the horrendously difficult thirteenth causes no problem to Father Micheal. He completes his round seven under par, has not dropped a shot and played the game of his life.
"Look!" Says the Devil, "This is just cannot right, you have allowed this servant of yours to bunk off work, play the game of his dreams, with your help on occasion I noticed, and as far as I can see, no punishment for his tardiness. If that is how you treat your followers, I really must have got it wrong." The Devil is perplexed. "I just don't understand it."
"Ahh but," Begins God. "It is true he has played, probably one of the best rounds ever to be played at High Elms, but, and this is the punishment, who can he tell?"