In this most exciting of times – as your god is reawakening, as the portents of conflict appear in the east and the west, at our cities’ edges and at their centers – it is increasingly vital for a true believer such as yourself to be prepared for the worst sort of situation. I’m speaking, of course, of those times you find yourself in dire need of your god’s intervention but without the necessary tools to request it.
It matters not how well you know the ritual, whether your altar is pristine, nor whether your knives and sconces are sharpened and lit – if you haven’t a good offering to bleed dry before the ever-watchful eyes of your divine master, your cries simply will not reach him. We know this, since it follows the oldest laws of humanity, passed down to us from the old ones in the most ancient times. We know that a thing of value must be destroyed when we commune with the divine; it allows us to open the otherwise sealed channel. And while we know this is inconvenient, we cannot help it; it is simply the way our world works. As such, as members of the devout we should never find ourselves without something of value on hand, should occasion for sacrifice arise.
“If only it were possible to have a sacrificial lamb whenever I need one,” I can almost hear you muttering, disconsolately. Well, cheer up, friend. It just so happens that this problem was solved in the days long past (as you know many of our modern day problems were)!
In the ancient texts it is stated,
“If your god also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdoms stand? When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. He that is not with your god is against your god: and he that gathereth not with your god scattereth. In your god’s name do all things.”
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of your god, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto your god, which is your reasonable service. Let your service act in accordance with your god and no other, lest you present yourself a living sacrifice to one who opposes your god’s principle. Heed: among what you can offer your god, years of service pleases him the most.”
And even elsewhere,
“And if he bring a lamb for a intervention offering, he shall bring it a female without blemish. If a female without blemish he hast not, he shall bring a male without blemish. If a male without blemish he has not, he shall bring a female with blemish. If a female with blemish he has not, he shall sacrifice something else entirely. A goat, a cow, a neighbor’s cow, an unusual stone, or a tree or anything else that seems valuable. It’s all the same, really.”
This wisdom is ancient, but we do not live in ancient times. We must adapt these texts to suit the era.
Our first passage teaches us the strength of unity but also of the weakness of division. Our second teaches us the value of a servant – to your own god, or to its anathema. Our third teaches us that many things can hold value. What can we infer from these lessons?
To begin with, we may observe though it is the contemporary fashion to offer a pure white sheep for slaughter, this is need not be the case. Is pure whiteness, after all, not a matter of perspective, a mere construction of those with many sheep from which to choose? Who is to say that your god prefers the purest from your own flock to the filthiest, the healthiest to the illest? That seems awfully preferentialist to me. And why do you suppose that your god prefers your own sheep to your neighbor’s, or even a sheep at all for that matter? Is not the destruction of something of value the catalyst of the ritual, that which allows your voice to reach your god’s ears?
My friends, we think too narrowly. Your god values your devout service above all else, does he not? Certainly, time spent doing works in his name benefits him more than the flesh of a single lamb. It is indisputably true, even in its simplest expression: more time, more lambs. But consider that your time and effort needn’t lead to the greater sacrifice, it is the greater sacrifice. Of course we want to give your god the greatest sacrifice whenever possible, but we do not always have the time.
Fortunately, your god tells us something else of note: those who do not stand with him stand against him. If he who does not gather the fruit of your god’s work instead scatters it – and if service to your god is what pleases him the most – then we infer that service of another god is what displeases your god the most. Think on the implication.
This is a finite world, physically and spiritually. There are only so many fields; there are only so many worshipers. As there are finite fields, there is finite grain. If half of the world gathers the grain and the half scatters it, there will be no harvest. In fact, if a fifth of the world is scatterers – or even a tenth – what will remain of the crop? It is far easier to scatter than to gather, after all.
Is my meaning clear, my friends? I believe it is, but I restate it just the same:
If it pleases your god to sacrifice a thing in his name, it displeases him just as much or more to sacrifice a thing in another name.
If it pleases your god that you work in his name, it displeases him just as much or more to work in in another name.
If it displeases your god that a thing is sacrificed in another name, it pleases him almost as much if you prevent its sacrifice.
If it displeases your god that one works for the sake of another name, it pleases him almost as much if you prevent that work.
Knowing this, do you not feel that you can be of much greater use to your god? Just remember: when you knock over another god’s altar, remember to shout that you do so in your god’s name. If you scream loudly enough, not only will you be certain to secure the credit for this ‘negative sacrifice’, but you may also spur your fellow believers to further action. Just as devout farmers sing songs as they work during the harvest, so should you sing as you hinder those who worship in other names.
Take these holy symbols: the torch, the pitchfork, and the rope. Go forth and worship.
Go in peace, knowing that you do your god’s work.
In his name we pray.