Building faith

Tomorrow, a new cross will be placed at the centre of the town, replacing the rusty, mutilated old one. It remains a mystery why the old cross has been embedded in the ground for over three centuries. Churches have been erased from this town for over a century, yet the cross still remains in the centre of the square, conveying to visitors a non-existent god that preserves this town. Yet none can say that god doesn’t exist in this town. For centuries, the town has been clear of fire. For centuries, the town has been untouched by plague. For centuries the town has maintained a stable income. Who’s to say that this isn’t the work of God?


Yet, God’s servants have never blessed him for his deeds. No churches have been established in his name and no priest has transmitted his message. Except-- the cross that is implanted. Nobody knows the history of the cross, and no one seems to be recording it.


When the order is given, a half-blind builder starts his work. Hunching down in front of the old cross, he drives his shovel deep into the dirt in which the cross firmly sits, only to hear a metal clink; the cross is far deeper into the ground than he anticipated. The builder, in a pit that he dug, kneels on the ground, trying to scrape away more dirt from the base. The townsmen watch him struggle in silence. And it is at this moment when his cart, which holds the new cross, crackles; with his head bent, the new iron cross falls on him, thrusting him into the pit he had dug. Its immense weight silences him.


Rumours start to circulate in the town following the death of the builder. The townspeople begin to fear God based on a conceit that God is punishing the builder who had disturbed his property, and that he is enraged by the lack of the townspeople’s devotion. That night, a group of men commissioned by the Mayor walk to the centre of town and begin the construction of a church- just next to the builder’s body.


No one goes to clean up the remains of the builder’s body, out of the fear that they might suffer the same fate. The corpse starts deteriorating, and the cross remains lying on the decomposed skeleton of the builder, reminding anyone who passes by the wrath of God on that sacred day. Religious symbols never had their place in this town, and neither would this be one; however, the builder’s grim end will be the first to be documented in the books….


The once quiet and peaceful village has become a religious capital. Words are spreading like wildfire about the religious protection it has been given by God for centuries. Every day, new arrivals walk through the gates of the town, only to find sorrowful faces which have been scorched by the symbols of God.


Years after the death of the builder, the town, now bristling with steeples and crosses, is marched upon by enemies for the first time in centuries. The town has no means of defending itself, no army or walls, just a forced faith.

...

The enemies overwhelmed the town, and along with the cross, it fell.


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