Monday, December 18, 2017

A Cautionary Advent Tale

Some time ago, long before any of us were born, before TV, before movies and automobiles, somewhere in the vast American wilderness between the Atlantic and Pacific, there was a small desolate town where the industry, whatever it was, had failed, and the crops, whatever they were, also failed, and the people were starving physically and spiritually. Some killed themselves and many became addicted alcohol or to a patent medicine derived from poppies, and these defeated townsfolk loitered in the public square without any hope and full of resentment.

“They call it The Land Of The Free, but we ain’t free. The city folk and foreigners and degenerates and even the slaves are free, but we ain’t free.”

One day, unknown to any of them, a circus train from New York City went off the tracks of the railroad a mile or two from town. This circus might not have been the greatest show on earth, but it was great, it was so great, you wouldn’t believe how great it was, and its main attraction, its star performer, escaped into the woods. It was a rare and rather rambunctious ape of some kind that was covered with remarkable orange hair.

The orange ape wandered aimlessly and free through the woods until it by chance reached the town and immediately caught the attention of the people in the square who had never seen anything like it and who thought it was the biggest man, the manliest man, they had ever seen. The people cheered and laughed at this heroic figure as it howled and swaggered to the center of town. They followed it as it slouched toward the open doors of the church, one of those lovely white country churches. 

The minister had finished his meaningless sermon to his empty church. He was a newcomer and a foreigner and he was much smaller than the ape and not as manly, and when he saw the Beast come roaring in the door he was alarmed. This clergyman was weak in faith, but he recognized an abomination of desolation when he saw one. “God help us all!” he screamed, and fled in holy terror into the wilderness, never looking back.

“What a loser,” the townsfolk cackled.

Meanwhile, the orange ape howled and beat his chest and cavorted around the sanctuary, overturning pews, smashing symbols of faith, greedily slugging down the communion wine, devouring the wafers, and defecating on the altar while the mob cheered.

“BEHOLD!” his followers shouted, “Our Savior will make us great again!”

 Their orange messiah grabbed the big Bible from the pulpit and tore it to pieces, throwing them  in the air,  grunting, “MA-GA! MA-GA! MA-GA!!” 

“MAGA!! MAGA!! MAGA!!” the delighted mob chanted in response
A page ripped from the gospels landed on an Advent candle and caught fire and a burning cinder attached itself to the ape’s orange fur. The flaming beast howled and ran about the church, spreading the fire until the building and the entire town were burned to dust and forever lost from history.
God help us all.