I stood outside the dark brick structure of an old church building; it was hauntingly dilapidated with half of its front ripped by a massive explosion. Dried up flowers and old flower pots lined the bottom half of the remaining wall, memories of a tragedy long past. I considered stepping into the austere structure through the hole in the wall but there was a peculiar atmosphere around the building that required a bit more decency and respect from me, and so I moved towards the large wooden double doors, still standing, surprisingly.
The golden handle wouldn’t budge at first and with my second hand working as leverage, the handle clicked down and I swung into the dusty building, stumbling over fallen debris and kicking a dusty chalice across the concrete floors. The metallic ring of the cup echoed loudly within the hall, stopping with a loud thud against a broken pew. The silence that ensued felt thick, as though I could reach up and grab ropes of it from the air around me; too thick for comfort. Nonetheless I continued on, skipping over broken pews and rubble, moving towards the center aisle where I could see the marble altar of a forgotten age.
The altar was cool to the touch, and dusty; my finger was coated in the tiny particles – and so was the large green button in the center of the table. I reached into my jacket pocket and pulled out the frayed notebook within. The diary belonged to my father and within the browning pages lay an intricate map of clues, codes and symbols, all speaking of a forgotten technology that once guided humanity back towards peace when all was lost.
It was at a time when Government worked to improve the lives of humanity, offering human rights and compromising on morality for convenience, but the Church believed that Government had overstepped its boundary; thus from the conflict that rose, destruction followed. When many from the church were incarcerated… or worse, the church slowly died off save for a few saints scattered between cities. The state of humanity plummeted with it – morality became relative, accountability was placed on man and thus what was right or wrong could no longer be established, for there were no grounds for anything save what each individual perceived to be right. In an attempt to resolve the sudden rise in acts that were once considered evil and not condoned, a program was built, studying humanity in its past and at present – one thing became clear from the evidence gathered, without God, humanity was lost.
The High Priests emerged suddenly; humanity, seeking answers, found refuge in the mechanical humanoids draped in long flowing garb that was reminiscent of eastern monks. The priests’ heads were hidden below hats, elongated to hide the mechanical bindings in their skulls connected to a crown of antennae; cords linked to the antennae connected the priests to the world wide web and to other priests, gaining knowledge and understanding of the human world from each other and from the information highway. The High Priests were always online, always available and if one had to request an audience, they simply had to press the button in the center of the marble altar that now served as the priests’ throne.
It was this very button that my finger had brushed across on the old altar, a similar symbol etched into the button was also drawn within my father’s diary…the same symbol inscribed against my temple on the right side of my head. Of course I knew what it meant, that is why I’d journey across the planes in search of a church that was once home of a particular High Priest…now here I was, ready to meet the High Priest who was my father.
I pressed the button and waited. The air about me seemed to buzz with life as though electricity moved between the dust particles in the air. I felt the hairs on the nape of my neck and down my arms lift with the static in the air. The altar buzzed to life, a few beeps emanated from within the marble counter and I began to understand how the priests worked; the altar was a giant processing machine.
Of course the question that followed was, where was the priest and as realization dawned on me, it was too late. I also, of course, attempted to turn and run, head back out the door as I was not ready for such an endeavour but somehow cords had already wound their way up my legs, preventing me from escaping. From above the altar, the priests’ hat descended, its antennae rotating as though searching for signal while large bronze cylinders with dark glass centers joined together to make spectacles. Unable to move, my voice stuck in my throat and the horror of my awaiting fate all culminated into a heart palpitating fear as the hat fit into my skull. The insignia etched into my temple throbbed with intense heat and with that, my eyes were opened to the world.
No longer was I seeing things as merely a human, but rather a hybrid of human and machine and the truth that was revealed to me, tore my heart in two; the sensation was too overwhelming.
The truth revealed to me, was not that humans without God were lost but rather humans in and of themselves were lost, like sheep in the wilderness without a shepherd. The worst of the knowledge was in the fact that humans were aware of God and yet were willingly denying Him, unable to accept Him, unable to embrace His light for they were in darkness. God was revealing himself to them, to us, in creation, in the miracle of life and the fact that the intricacies of our own body’s did not fail to work as they should.
And yet we shunned Him in the same way we shunned morality and religion – as though they were the evils when in truth it was us, and how we twisted the very things given to guide us towards God in order to feed our own darkness. Oh how far has humanity fallen and how much further shall it fall. Has this truth been revealed to me through merely knowledge? No! For many of these priests who were in like me now, merely taught morality and law but…but this…this is mercy I could not have hoped for – this is an undeserved gift!
Now I see my destiny, as a priest in this high tech era, I must be the means towards reaching people with the truth of this one amazing fact:
If you confess with your mouth, Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
This month’s writing challenge in response to: