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Godwinson's Hope

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    Godwinson's Hope

    Godwinson's Hope


    An elderly and weary man in purple vestments descends from the elaborate and lovingly carved pulpit. In his left hand he carefully holds his much used Conclave Bible while his right grips a wooden railing for support. Slowly he descends the spiral stairs to his polished but plain wooden bench.

    The silence in the Great Cathedral is disturbed by the gentle swish of the unadorned flowing orange robes of a diminutive figure. She rises from the second row of pews and makes her way to the center isle. At the center isle she turns right and follows the thin crimson carpet to the raised alter. Upon reaching it she bows her head reverently and crosses herself. After a moment she turns to the right to ascend to the pulpit.

    At the apex of the pulpit she pauses contemplatively, and then looks out at the expectant congregation. The Great Cathedral of Godwinson's Hope can easily seat 3,000 souls, but today less than a thousand are present. The briefest twinge crosses Miriam Godwinson's face as she sees the empty pews, and notices that the old, infirm, or very young occupy the seats that are filled. Every face looks toward Miriam's expectantly.

    Drawing a deep breath, she begins.

    "Thank you brother Mark for the inspirational sermon. Your words have brought us closer to God's Truth, and offer hope and inspiration in these times of strife.

    Brethren, I greet you in the name of our Holy Lord. We are gathered here today, as we have gathered on God's holy days during these many decades past, to glorify our Father and his teachings, and to attempt to understand his Holy Word. Through his Word will come his peace and understanding.

    God's is Divine. And though we are but imperfect sinners, we can only hope and strive to be his tool, and be an example to all. All that our beneficent God asks is that we love him and do his work as we are able. We cannot earn God's love, for it is freely given to all that will acknowledge his Name. Truly, God is Great.

    Let us now offer today's Prayer of the Day:

    Most merciful God, we accept that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves, and that we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and Glory. Forever and ever. Amen."

    "Amen," the congregation responds.

    "Be with us in this time of grief and loss, and help us be strong. Our faith will guide us to the true path. Remember the fallen in the razed cities of New Jerusalem, New Eden, Valley of the Faithful, Redemption Base, The Rapture, and House of Martyrs. Although we mourn the passing of our brethren, we have comfort in knowing that they reside with you in eternal paradise.

    We ask a blessing for the thousands of the now vanquished Human Hive and Spartan Federation. We hope you have accepted these lost souls to your breast so that they, too, know the beauty of your love.

    Although our woes are many, they are but human and will pass. All passes within your eternal sight. We ask a special blessing on those that would unjustly pursue Gods' Chosen.

    We ask forgiveness for Lady Skye and her demons of the sky, earth and sea, for these have torn and sundered the minds from the faithful. May she come to understand your Grace, even as she venerates Planet, which is, in Truth, your creation.

    We ask forgiveness for Commissioner Lal for his unleashing of nuclear fire on New Jerusalem and New Eden. May his soul find redemption in your eternal grace.

    We ask forgiveness for CEO Morgan for unleashing genetic terror against the innocents in The Rapture and House of Martyrs. Grant that he understand the sanctity of human life, and repent before your sight.

    We ask forgiveness especially for Academician Zakhorov. Your hand can cleanse his soul, even though he has put 100,000 of the Chosen to the sword and has used Satan's nerve gas against the unarmed. We pray that even now he will accept our offer of submission. He has not done so in the past, but it is our fervent prayer.

    Praise be to God! Amen."

    "Amen," the congregation responds. A few sobs can be heard in the cavernous hall.

    Miriam descends from the raised alter and slowly walks to the front of the cathedral. Then she raises her hands. She is radiant, and a holy light seems to shine from a pure soul.

    "My brethren, pray with me! Let us join hands in this, the last hour! Let us venerate God the Almighty! Now is not a time for despair, for God's hand works in ways we mere humans cannot understand!"

    One, then two, then the whole congregation makes their way to the front of the cathedral. Miriam takes the hands of those closest to her and moves to the back of the sanctuary to make room. As the assembled faithful arrive and clasp hands, she kneels. As one, the faithful kneel with her.

    Miriam bows her head, and then notices an older man whose hand she is holding. His shoulders are shaking as he tries to fight back sobs. Miriam takes his hand and kisses it, and he looks up at her. His eyes are red from tears. She takes his unresisting hand and wraps it around the necklace on around his neck: a silver Star of David.

    "Find strength in God," she says simply. Then Miriam bends near and whispers a short prayer to him in ancient Hebrew. As she finishes he stops sobbing and nods to her.

    As Miriam takes her place again, a light shines through the elaborate stained glass window. The figure in the beautiful crystalline window is a depiction of the Eternal God. He looks lovingly at his seven sheep, representing the seven factions on Chiron. In white lettering above his head it reads: 'GOD IS LOVE'. Below the sheep at his feet it reads: 'PEACE, UNITY, FAITH'.

    The light illuminates the Chosen.

    A millisecond later the Sun claims Godwinson's Hope.