By William Spencer-Hale
Clash Daily Contributor
I see you.
And I must admit that you are clever, resourceful and deceitful. You once had me, shackled and blind, bound to dance to your every whim whilst in the shadows you laughed at me, mocked me and patiently waited for when I would be your slave.
Although I did not sell my soul to you, I sold out to modern culture, to sin, to instant gratification, and all these are of your design. It is a subtle trap you have made for each of us, and many succumb to your lies.
I did. Eagerly and with a conceit and arrogance that must have made you blush with pride. This same lie you have told again and again, repackaged for each generation, for each culture, for each civilization since your triumph in the Garden. You must think well of yourself, as you have made the irrelevant and fleeting to look like Heaven and Heaven itself to look irrelevant and fleeting.
Pleasure is easy and available; patience is difficult and not worth the bother. Sin is an antiquated concept developed by primitives and cave dwellers to explain what they could not hope to understand; religion nothing more than a preternatural stab in the dark to soothe the minds of the mortal. Now, we live in an enlightened age, unencumbered by the superstitious folly of our simple-minded ancestors. Now we have science, reason, logic – we no longer need rules and regulations, inspired by an antiquated theology, to give structure to our lives. We are free. We are our own gods and our own morality now.
Yes, I see you.
Since the beginning, would-be tyrants gave in to your temptations, as you made them believe that their right to govern (or should I say rule?) came from God, and that any and all actions were justified as long as it had the blessings of The Author of All Things, manifest in an earthly king, emperor, senator or president. We were small and easily sacrificed as long as the greater good was served. Millions have died at the hands of “righteous” rulers who stole the individuality of persons created in the image of God and made them fodder for the aspirations of powerful fools. These kings and presidents could hear your lies, but not see your truth. You are clever that way.
But, I see you.
I was once yours. Completely. But I was unaware of my own failings. I believed I could have the world and Heaven, too. That’s what our churches would have us believe today, after all. That culture is separate from church, technology separate from faith, entertainment separate from prayer and Mankind, after all these millennia, separate from God.
To me, this life was merely a co-existence with a vague and distant deity, not a holy union with the Creator. Often that was all that was taught about faith, even in the holy places – cede your morality to current law and legislative fancy, surrender your faith so that others are not offended. A church built on the blood of martyrs and protected by warriors of faith became the haven for Sunday Saints and Part-time Prophets, more concerned with tending the fragile feelings of those who have chosen sinful, “alternative” lifestyles than to bravely wield the Sword of Gideon and crush the head of the serpent.
And as I sang the Lord’s name in church, the Father of all Lies sang my name in Hell. And he waited, ever so patiently, as he does for each of us, for me to make the journey to him.
But, now, I see you.
My own treachery broke me; my own arrogance killed me. Your lies murdered me and I lay spiritually dead in a dying world. It was then that I had my choice, as we all do. I had to die to this world to understand the truth of the next world. It was then I saw your shadow. It was then I saw you for the first time. And instead of embracing that shadow, instead of wrapping myself in that darkness, I discovered that every shadow must be cast by a great light. I turned my eyes from you and saw Him, and that light scorched my soul, disinfecting me of filth, lies and self-deification. I was consumed in the fire of His Love, and from my own ashes, I arose whole.
And now you hate me. Now your vengeful scream echoes through the halls of Hell as another soul is lost to you. You never cared for me. You never wanted me. You only wanted to seduce me so that my fall, my death, would wound The One who wounded you. But by His Grace, that has been stolen from you. And now you hate me.
Another in your garden of treachery is lost. Although your vineyard is full, as the time comes for harvest, one by one the individual fruit withers and falls from your dying vines. Each of these has a name precious to God. I have a name that is now lost to you, and the wine made by the grapes which have escaped your trellis will be bitter on your tongue.
Let my name be as bitter fruit. Let it choke you with every sip. Let my vintage burn your throat.
Now that I see you – you can no longer see me. I work now for His harvest, so that come the season, the end of the age, His cup will be sweet, and yours will remain poison. His cup will be full, and you will know the thirst of your own failure.
Yes, I see you now and I bring war. I take up my sword and bring fire to your vineyard so that other grapes may wither and escape your harvest.
Hate me, despise me and let my name be as bitter fruit.
William Hale is a polymath, a conundrum amongst his friends and coworkers, a man whose interests run contrary to modern stereotypes. William is equally adept at both trapshooting and pastels portraiture, armed defense instruction and Christian philosophy. A veteran of the Cold War who served as a Pershing crew member during very worrisome times, his faith runs deep and his knowledge of history is formidable. This combination gives him an understanding and insight into the intertwined physical and spiritual aspects of life that few understand. His gift is that he has no fear of the evils he perceives and is able to explain the world around him to those who listen.