Tag Archives: Brother-Saviour

On Births and Beginnings

Dear Father,

A few days ago we celebrated the birth of the Brother-Saviour, and in a few days we shall celebrate the start of a new year. As a young boy growing up in the House I was always pleased and displeased by the coincidence that separated both of these dates. Both celebrations gave the holidays purpose, pointed clearly to why we were offered breaks from school and allowed to waste our days at home. The birth of the Brother-Saviour also came with the reception of gifts from the fabled Father Christmas, and this was a tradition I cherished even after I grew old enough to know that Father Christmas was my father and mother working in tandem. However, gifts and holidays notwithstanding, both days also meant late church vigils and early morning masses; my parents, much to my dismay, were intent on entering and spending a good chunk of the celebratory days in your presence, giving you thanks and asking you favours. As a child I found such endeavours useless and felt that they stole away precious time that could have been spent playing with friends and toying with presents.

Of course as a much older person the significance of both days is much more apparent. It is not lost on me that we celebrate a birth on one day and the beginning of a new year on the other. Births themselves mark a beginning. They inform us of the start of new lives, filled with possibilities and hopes and chances yet to be taken. And a new year for many marks an opportunity to give this life another go, to try once more to achieve that of which they have already spent years in pursuit. There is a strong sense of finality and hope in this week, even amongst those that do not share a belief in your House and the things it represents. The start of the new year is enough for most to look to the future with anticipation, to offer their fevered and expectant prayers to you and other Fathers in other Houses for what they wish to achieve or meet or see in the next 12 months, regardless of whether or not they truly believe in you or whether or not they have faithfully kept your edicts.

And so Father, as I am as much a child as the rest of my brethren, I once again put aside the questions and feelings that have arisen from my journey, and I allow myself to be filled with hope for the future, hope that your earth will become a better place in the coming year; that fewer will suffer, that fewer will lose the things they hold dear; that more will be happy, that more will be fulfilled; that fewer die in their youth and that more die ripe with age, ready to leave the wonderful lives they have led and rest once and for all. I allow myself to hope against history and Doubt and pessimism that wars will end this coming year; that the poor will be clothed and fed, and that all your children, regardless of creed and colour, would grow closer, inspired by the understanding that the many things that make us different make us stronger. I allow myself to hope that the love exemplified by your sacrifice (pointless as it may seem) will be more evident in the coming years than it has been since, and that more of us understand this kind of love and manifest it in our lives, sacrificing our wants for the needs of those less fortunate.

My once little friend, ever ready with words of contradiction, shakes his head with pity, but for the next few days I will not care; I will allow myself to hope. May my hope not be for naught, dearest Father; may it not be for naught.

With an expectant heart,

Your Prodigal Son

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On Guides and Fathers

Dearest Father,

Today your children remembered the birth of the House. Today they celebrated as they recalled the magical events of that afternoon many years ago, when you deigned to send your spirit down to your disciples and gave them the capacity to spread your word. Today, many say, marks the true beginning of the greatest House that ever was and ever will be. And today, dearest Father, I was reminded of how utterly and completely forsaken I am.

The significance of the today’s event is not one that can all too easily be brushed aside. For many it is a call to jubilation. Our Father, from his abode in the Great Upstairs, decided to send his spirit, his very essence, to guide and protect his children. This was the latest in a series of events aimed at humbling the terrible You-Know-Who and exulting your beloved offspring. First you took it upon yourself to take our form, that we may see you as we saw ourselves. Then you died for us, sacrificing the purest life to ever grace this earth, that our debt to you may be washed away and our souls cleansed of their iniquity. And then, to prove that even Death could not hold you, you restored life to yourself and gave your followers a reason to believe, to hope. And when you finally had to depart, dearest Father, you promised to come once again in a different form at a different time, to help your children weather the storms of their harsh, cold world.  Of course the day you selected for your second arrival was not one of little importance. It was perfectly timed, a day that already held deep meaning for your first House, the House of the Star. Not satisfied to lay the foundations for your new House on a new day, you decided to do it on a day the old guard celebrated a gift you gave them at their birth. You decided to arrive on the day of the Pentecost. And while I cannot speak for the rest of your children Father, I think I understand exactly why you picked such a day for your grand entrance; as with most things you do it has its significance in the day’s history.

I know you have not forgotten but permit me to remind you. The children in Egypt had enslaved the Stars, and after giving them many chances to let them go (while simultaneously ensuring that their King would not take advantage of these chances) you showed your might, taking first-borns and parting seas, and you delivered your children safely from their clutches. And seeing your children lost in the desert, you decided to give them a Law, a law to guide and protect them, to light the way in times of extreme darkness and to distinguish them from the rest of your unsaved and apparently unloved children. And impressed with your works, as you were wont to be at that time in our history, you commanded that they commemorate this day with a feast, the Feast of Weeks, so named for the weeks that passed between their deliverance and the arrival of your Law.

Looking at the history of the Stars and the Crosses, it is rather evident that you enjoy repetition, dearest Father, for the birth of your newest and greatest House followed the exact same template as that of its predecessor. Eventually, for reasons as yet only discernible by you, the time came to spread your love to the rest of the world and you performed this duty with the requisite flair one has come to expect. You sent the Brother-Saviour, and in a series of events just as magnanimous as those surrounding the first Pentecost, you had him killed and resurrected and ascended, and then you sent once again a guide for your people, this time in the form of a spirit. His death was to deliver, just as the death of all those boys in ancient Egypt served to deliver your children then, and your spirit gave the new House purpose, just as the Law did for the children of the old one.

I must stress that as it was with the Brother-Saviour’s sacrifice I appreciate the importance of today’s feast. The presence of the spirit is the only thing that gave courage to the early members of the House to go forth and spread your word. Children not originally in the House of the Star, such as myself, would never have heard about the Brother-Saviour and his wondrous sacrifice without the spirit, and some of us would never have had the privilege of being born into the House of the Cross. But as you can see, I am no longer in the House. I am a lost child, a wanderer, seeking that which would lead him home, and from my seat on the Outside I have but one very big question, Father: Why?

Do not mistake my query dearest Father; I am not asking why you sent the guide. That much is evident. The past few weeks have seen me list for you the troubles one such as myself has had with defining a concept as basic as truth. Every step of my journey has been plagued by the dangerous whisperings of my despised companion. While I doubt that the early children of the House had the very same issues that I do, I am quite certain they were beset with issues that at least bore a striking resemblance to mine. Doubt you see, is the parent of Fear, and it is well known that in those early days your disciples were quite afraid. Their meetings were secret, their ministry effectively non-existent. And it was only when your spirit arrived on this auspicious day, that they had not just the courage, but the ability, to go forth and spread the good news. The same goes for those early members of the still standing House of the Star. They were afraid, unsteady in their ignorance, surrounded by a land they did not know and presented with a purpose they could not understand. It was only with the guiding force of your perfect Law that they were able to progress.

So I understand why you sent the spirit. What I do not understand, dear Father, is why once again, there was a need for all of this. It has taken you two Houses and more than a thousand years to see your wishes for your children reach its zenith. In the first case, you had to craft resistance from the Egyptian King in order to show your might. You had to sacrifice all those boys so that all could know that you were Father among Fathers. And even this was not enough, for it was not done for all of us. You spent time and energy and (innocent) blood laying the foundations of the House of the Star, all the while knowing that eventually you would replace it with a new one by means of another death that, on some days, seems just as superfluous as the firsts.

Even on the topic of why you sent the spirit, Father, one has to wonder why your children, children of the greatest Father in all the world, are in need of a guide at all. We have a perfect Father, one that does not – cannot – Doubt, one that is as conversant with the ways of Sophia as any being in the entire universe can be. Your Book tells us that we were moulded from your hands, that our breaths come from your lips. And yet, we are so very different from you, so much weaker, so much less… Underneath all these events, purposeless they might seem, is a very important message, one that I find driven home time and time again in the mythos of the House: It is never enough to just deliver your children. Even after we are saved we are still lost; we have no clue what to with our freedom. Given time we will eventually find ourselves in the wilderness of confusion and we will need your guidance.  And looking upon the wondrous nature of the one that bore us, one has to ask why, Father, why?

I mentioned that whilst my former siblings celebrated I was filled with sorrow, reminded of how abandoned this child of yours truly is. For on this day it was not enough for me to realise that regardless of what I do, regardless of how perfect my Father is, I will always pale before him. No, your 13th apostle, in the celebration’s second reading, did me one better. He went ahead to say that not only would I always pale before you, but in order to partake of whatever joys I found lacking while I was in the House, in order to truly be in the House, I would need to be bestowed with your spirit, I would need the wondrous guidance of my perfect Father. I, the lowly being that I am, cannot do this on my own, and until you show me the way this immense journey I am undertaking is a useless, pointless one.

Again, dearest Father, I understand. I understand the need for guides. Blind men need help to navigate the world. Ignorant men need teachers. Those with poor hearing need aids, and those with poor sight need lenses. Where there is a deficiency, Father, there is need for a guide. And if there ever was a being so deficient, it is I. Sad and confused I left my home in search of truth, and I have been plagued by Doubt ever since. It is quite evident that I do not know the things I need to know to believe, for if I did I will not be lingering on the Outside. Every thought I have will not be so easily attacked and dissected by my winged companion. Every House outpost I meet will not be a source of sadness and envy. And yet if the man so filled with your spirit, so guided by your hand is to be believed, the only way I can break free of these chains, the only way my deficiencies can be vanquished, is if you give me your spirit. I do not have your spirit because I am confused. I cannot be unconfused without your spirit. And you, Grand Arbiter that you are, can decide – no, could have decided – at any moment to send this guide down to me. And yet you have not. And so I ask once again Father, why? Why have you not yet chosen to send this spirit? What purpose does my torture serve? And if the only ones that can be in the House are those you have elected to give your spirit, what does that say about the multitudes we are told are waiting on the Outside? What kind of Father, dearest Father, will refuse to guide his children? Like your sacrifice its circular nature defeats its purpose. For if only by your spirit can your children spread the word, and if only by your spirit can your children accept it, of what use is all that happens in between?

But even all these are not reason enough for the depth of my sadness today, Father. That responsibility lies, once again, with my dear, dear friend. For as I thought these thoughts he saw fit to whisper to me a terrible question: What kind of perfect Father is so distant he needs to send guides to help his children?

With a heavy heart,

Your Prodigal Son

P.S. This letter would probably reach you after the Pentecostal festivities are over. Please be understanding; it took quite a while to pen it.

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On Sacrifices and Their Worth II

Dear Father,

But a few days ago, the Season of the Fast reached its end. Whether or not this was the initial intention of the Family elders when they planned the House Calendar, the end of the season coincides with the birth of spring and this, I believe, carries with it some powerful imagery. In my homeland, once termed the Dark Continent, we do not experience such things as spring and winter. For us, there are two seasons. The rains come and then they go, and they do so on a cycle that has nothing to do with the Season of the Fast. As a result back when I was young and in the House, any significance attached to the timing of the season’s end was lost on me. Not so in the land in which I find myself. Here the rains are beginning to fall after months of snowy skies. The trees are growing leaves again; the birds have picked up their songs, and squirrels have resumed their foraging. As the members of the House beat their drums and blow their trumpets in celebration, so too does the rest of nature. Significant, for the end of the season marks what has been termed the three most important days in the history of House, and by dogmatic extension, the history of the entire earth. It marks the death and resurrection of our brother and saviour, your perfect incarnation among your children.

But a few days ago the Universal Family, and those in the House that have not yet cast aside everything connected with the Family, bowed their heads to mark the Brother-Saviour’s crucifixion.  This, we are told, was the sacrifice of sacrifices, the sacrifice that ended all sacrifice. So great is the significance of this sacrifice that its extent is among the things that caused one of the greatest splits from the Universal Family. The reach of this sacrifice, the permanence of its effects, is a key dispute between my Family and the ever dividing Family of Rebels. Without this sacrifice, all is lost. Your children are eternally doomed, and You-Know-Who has won the battle. With this sacrifice, not only do we have a fighting chance, the tides have been turned irrevocably. Because of the blood of the Brother-Saviour, You-Know-Who is bound to lose. We know not the day or the hour, but we have been assured that when it comes, he will fall once and for all, never to rise again.

But anyone can die, or so they say. The real special thing about your sacrifice was the resurrection, the rebirth, so to speak. It makes for wonderful symbolism when your children’s voices are raised in praise, joy and exultation, marking the anniversary of your resurrection just as the very earth gives new life to the its inhabitants. Perhaps this is why the House elders in the days of yore picked this time for the season. Or perhaps, as some say, they were simply trying to garner the favour of the Outsiders whose lands and hearts they wished to capture. It is of no consequence. Your death and subsequent resurrection mark the very foundation of the towering domicile I have left behind. They give reason to the lives of all those within the House. They bring hope, they bring the good news, and they provide the basis on which the House has spread its message over continents and over oceans, growing its bounds though blood as much as through words.

Sitting, contemplating the significance of these events, with my undesirable friend on my shoulder, I was struck by how foolish, how petty, my ramblings were a little over forty days ago. While acknowledging the fact that the Season of the Fast was to prepare us to appreciate the greatest of all sacrifices, I still had the audacity to wonder whether or not certain sacrifices were worthy of your person. It is rather evident that none on this earth is. So much so that you, purest of the pure, had to take human form and die, in order to show us how it was done. You had to take it upon yourself to demonstrate to us that no sacrifice, however great could possibly match what really was necessary to save us from ourselves.

The sacrifice we celebrate marks why the House is often called the House of Love, especially in the face of other Houses. None other claims to have a Father that so loved his children he was willing to lay his life down on their behalf. None other claims to have a Father that boldly and unflinchingly went into suffering and pain and torture, just so that he could be with his children again. It is among the greatest calls to uniqueness, the greatest points of appeal, that the House has been able to lay claim to over the centuries. Deep inside, dear Father, your children simply want to be loved, and what better way to pull them to your bosom than by erecting a House whose very symbol is the ultimate gesture of expressible love?

But while I sat and mused on the wonders of the season’s end, filled with what can only be called nostalgic appreciation, my little friend, ever ready with cancerous utterances, had a word or two on this very subject. Now I would rather not mention the horrendous things he said; but I promised to write you about our experiences. Such a promise is not one that should be cast away so easily.

Per his name, my winged friend saw fit to cast his deep shadow over the very notion that the Brother-Saviour’s sacrifice, your sacrifice, is in fact the greatest of all sacrifices. If, as I have discovered, sacrifices must be measured by not just what they deprive us of but also by how much they achieve, it seems only fair that your sacrifice be brought under the microscope as well.

To that end, dearest Father, the question is thus: Exactly what were you deprived of in your sacrifice? In the weeks past I have abstained from food for the duration of the sun’s journey across the sky. I have endured my natural hungers, so that by suffering through them my mind may be driven towards you. This entire journey is predicated on discovering you more; what better way to ensure that you stay on my mind all the time than by tying it to something the body cannot do without?

Now when Doubt asked this question I was quick to provide an answer very much like the one I arrived at myself. Your sacrifice aside, the very act of coming to us and taking human form allowed you to experience life as we saw it, to identify with us. And Doubt, the ever wily and disgustingly brilliant little fellow, laughed and pointed out that per House dogma, you know everything. What more is there for you to know, dear Father? How could you, perfect being that you are, not know what being human feels like? You made us, down to the last hairs on our heads, or so they say. It is unfathomable to think that you do not know how we feel. The subject of suffering makes this an even bigger conundrum. What purpose did your suffering serve dear Father? Can one even say that you suffered, in the same way that your children suffer? And even if you did, why would it matter? For a being as knowledgeable as yourself, suffering would simply be experiencing something you have already “experienced”, something that you would not need to be reminded of as you can never forget. No. It seems your sacrifice then was for our benefit, perhaps to make us see you as we see ourselves… to humanise you, so to speak. We are the ignorant ones, not you. We are the ones that need to see the truth.

While this answer seemed to send Doubt flapping away in silent thought, the reprieve was not to last too long. He was back soon, with even more disturbing words. He pointed out that this fact, that the incarnation of yourself in flesh was simply to humanise yourself, had diluted the effect of what was to be considered an amazing sacrifice. You cannot suffer, in any way that makes sense; the feelings cannot be new to you, and you in your almighty glory, were already aware that you were to break the chains of death and rise again on the third day. In fact, this last bit reduces the sacrifice even more. There is, in effect, no sacrifice, for you died knowing full well that you would rise. There wasn’t, at the very least there shouldn’t have been, any fear or uncertainty in your heart. There was no finality. Listening to his words the sacrifice that defines the House suddenly seemed like a small thing, a simple formality. When one knows the outcome of an event, when one knows that it shall go in his favour, does one really lose anything by fulfilling all righteousness? Does one learn anything by going through the motions?

Of course I have heard such musings before, and it seems Family dogma on the full humanity and full divinity of the Brother-Saviour was crafted specially for such purposes. By being just as human as the rest of your children, he was subject to the fears and uncertainties that we feel every day. So even though he knew that he would rise, it did not make the experience any more enjoyable, or perfunctory. I can understand this. But my friend was not convinced, and I am afraid I must agree. Just as the Brother-Saviour is a man, he is also you. And you do not fear; you are not ignorant nor are you weak. It feels safe to assume that in a battle between Fatherly natures and childish natures the Fatherly would win, awesome and mighty as it is, especially when it exists in such great amounts as it did in the Brother-Saviour. So even as he approached the cross, bleeding from back and breast, he must have known all too well how everything would play out, and I cannot help but feel that that makes him no more than an actor on a very elaborate and realistic stage. And actors make no sacrifices, except to sell the act that they are making sacrifices.

Now there is the issue of the justice which must be served. We, your children, abandoned you Father, and made a rift so great that only the death of someone as awesome as yourself could heal it. To that end the sacrifice was absolutely necessary. Of course this raises other questions, such as the nature of justice itself, and punishments and sin, questions I hope to pose as I grow wiser on this journey. But it doesn’t answer the question of ultimate purpose. Per your omniscience, you already knew this was to be done; one can go as far as saying you already “did” it. You gained nothing doing it, and, perhaps more importantly, you lost nothing. You didn’t really die, and whatever part of you one can say perished that day was soon recovered … resurrected. Once again, it feels like everything was nothing more than a performance, more for our adulatory, love-seeking eyes than anything else.

In a final attempt to wipe the smirk off my friend’s face I half-heartedly muttered that perhaps this was one of the many things we could not understand, and he laughed a deep, cruel laugh, his eyes rolling in their dark sockets. Even he could see that I knew (as well as he) that such an answer, such a subdued acceptance of ignorance, would not be enough to quiet him. A quest for truth is among the reasons for my journey; what would be the point if whenever confronted with the tough questions I simply waved my hand, like the wizened and disinterested elders of the Family, and said “We cannot understand.”? The Numidian references such wonderful, unfathomable paradoxes in his Confessions, waxing poetic about how you are “most merciful, yet most just … stable, yet incomprehensible; unchangeable, yet all-changing; never new, never old…”, and for a case like this, I suppose he would say that you are “dying while still alive; suffering, yet unaffected; reduced yet whole”. But while such words filled me with awe and wonder once upon a time, on this day they do little to calm my faltering, perturbed heart.

It pains me to say it, Father, but my little friend does have a point. A sacrifice’s worth is measured by things lost and effects had. I lost some culinary satisfaction, and in return I can only imagine that I was brought closer to you in some manner; I certainly felt so. But your sacrifice, when put against yourself, feels hollow, staged. A being that has everything has absolutely nothing to lose. And looking upon this earth you have made, looking upon the children in your image, I cannot help but feel that nothing has changed. There were wars before your death on the cross; there are still wars today. We died of disease and hunger and pain before your death; we still die today. We murdered and pillaged and lied and stole and cheated and raped before your death; we still do so today, with more pomp and flair in fact. As I sit here and pen this letter to you dear Father, I cannot help but feel that whatever You-Know-Who was supposed to have lost that day must have been trivial, for he carries on like nothing happened. Whatever the effects your death was to have had that day, they must be ethereal, for we are not much different than we were before. We are just as sad, just as fallen, and this realisation fills me with a sorrow that eclipses whatever appreciation I may have felt as I contemplated the joys of spring many days before.

And so, confused and afraid, I ask you my dearest Father: what was the worth of this sacrifice, this greatest sacrifice of them all?

With a heavy heart,

Your Prodigal Son

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