The Preacher

Up in the north where the cold winds blow, lived a preacher who referred to himself as the “Devil’s Son.” He hardly ever left his home on the mountain top where he applied himself to the study of religious matters. One would suspect that he deliberately closed himself off from the world in search of absolution. One would also suspect that he was stupid to do so. But preachers who refer to themselves as the Devil’s Son aren’t supposed to make sense. A walking paradox is hardly ever understood, so walking paradoxes tend to walk alone. As such, the preacher led a lonely life.

Occasionally, however, he’d deign and come down to the town that sat at the base of the mountain. And those days when he’d condescend where precisely dramatic. Such days would be filled all sorts of oddities because he was a man of rituals. He had a ritual for leaving his house and he had a ritual for entering town. After finishing with the base necessities that were required for leaving home, he’d always take up his gun, loading only three bullets into it, and then he’d take up his bible and read his favourite psalm, close it, tuck it under his arm, then make his way down slowly taking the path of most resistance. Midway through his descent, he’d stop in a make-shift graveyard, and stare off out yonder for an incredible amount of time. Then bringing his attention back to where he stood, he’d take his Bible from its place under his arm and begin reading from Revelations 5. He’d read thus:

1. And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 2. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3. And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the Tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. 6. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

He’d stop there, weave the sign of the cross, mumble “this is nonsense,” and then continue on his descent. All this he did with tears in his eyes which would dry up as he drew closer to the town. So by the time he reached the town, his look was stern and any passion that moved him to tears was properly hidden.

This walking paradox would proclaim his arrival by standing in the front of its most popular bar and yelling “Gather roun’ ye children of Adam. I’ve come to wipe the blood out of your eyes. I wish I didn’t have to come but I’ve spoken to the Lord on the mountain top, and his bidding is all I can do.” At which point some drunkard, made mighty the Devil’s blood (alcohol), would yell with an equally audible voice and with far more malice “Shut up, preacher, enough of your madness. You don’t want to deal with us and the feeling is mutual. Go back to your mountain or crawl in a cave and die, either way leave us alone.”

Words so biting and hurtful would have been enough to make the average person repine and recoil, but the preacher wasn’t average. He’d remained silent throughout the attack and he would be silent for some while after it ended. Then he’d start again with “listen to me my wayward flock, I spoke to the lord on the mountain top and his biding is all I can do.” And he’d repeat this for 5 or so more minutes, all the time being linguistically chastised by the drunkard. Drunkards will be drunkards, I suppose.

Now by the end of the 5 minutes or so, a crowd would have gathered fully prepared to mock and belittle. Each individual member of the crowd was a coward and perhaps a fool, and only with the approbation of the crowd would they express themselves. They gave life to the crowd and the crowd in turn told them what should be said and what should be done – it was their God even though they were not brave enough to admit it.

Their presence made the preacher smile because he knew he’d get the opportunity to be mordant. So, when he was fully satisfied with the crowd’s size, he’d say “you all have blood in your eyes and blood in your hearts. You’re tired too. But that’s alright! Jesus said “come to me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you…for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”” At which point, a more sensible and nobler member of the crowd would respond “preacher, you’re walking contradiction. We’ve heard you say that God is dead and that even when he was alive, he had no business in the affairs of humans. Furthermore, you refer to yourself as the Devil’s son. You really should be the last person to preach. The only reason we haven’t driven you out of town is because we remember that your family was gun-downed in these very streets while you were away on missionary work. This sort a thing can make a man mad enough to go live in the mountains, returning only once a month on a caprice to talk nonsense.”

One would have been right to suspect that this was the moment the preacher was waiting for because his eyes would start gleaming and his voice would increase in virility, this was when he really began to preach. And he’d say:

“The blood of my wife and daughter still call out to me from their graves. I’ve suffered since they died and I’ll continue to suffer. And I’m happy to know that I wasn’t afraid to love two people so much that I continue to miss them so much after they’re gone. But that’s not drove me away from this town. Truth be told, I wanted leave long before they were dead. The people of this town say this town is a Christian town, but it’s so in name only. The people here only have a form of Godliness but deny fullness thereof. You all mistake your rigidity and your adherence to silly rules as religious piety, but the truth is you have neglected the most precious part of any religious duty, which is love for your fellow human being. You are a people without charity and I wonder how long you’ll continue like this, always seeing the faults of others but never seeing your own, always terribly narcissistic, never understanding, ever lacking a love for beauty and virtue. The thing that pains me the most though is how much you trick yourselves into thinking that you’re living the best life possible and how much you trick yourselves into thinking that you’re different from each other when in fact you’re all the same.”

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

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