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Deborah led Levi down the street in a hurry. She had become so enraptured by the video message and the warning it offered that she had lost track of the time. Now she rushed, anxious to reach the Temple on time.

As she arrived she slowed her pace, swept her hair back from her face and re-adjusted her clothing. Taking a few deep breaths she smiled broadly and entered the Temple.

As ever, its beauty overwhelmed her. Filled with ornate trimmings, precious metals and jewels, delicate paintings in bold, eye-catching colours. On the walls stood pictures of those who had been faithful to the Elect over the years, smiling down upon the beneficiaries of their good will. The room was spotless, its paint sparkling. In its centre stood a large black altar, before which stood a man in a seamless red robe, wielding a book.

Deborah weaved her way through the crowd and took her place with Levi. Casting a subtle eye around, she was satisfied with what she saw. Neither too perfect, as to make her look inferior, nor too imperfect, as to taint her by association. Just right. As, she reflected, was she.

The man in red, the Prophet, raised his hand. Immediately the room fell silent. He spoke to the people.

“And in their wisdom, the Elect created the order of man, taking from each according to their productivity, and giving to each according to their obedience. Those who choose the path of righteousness, who follow the Elect with neither question nor doubt, who open their hearts and surrender their minds the wisdom of these gods among men – they shall be raised, from the lowest wretch to the inmost heart of the City, even to the Elect themselves. For as they are, so may we be.

“In the Elect may true order be found, one above another according to their obedience to those whose plan works for the betterment of all. Each may outdo the next, and in this come closer to salvation.

“And now you shall bring that which the Elect have given unto you as a gift in honour of their grace.”

One by one, members of the crowd approached the altar with their gifts, some large, some small, some with pride, some with shame. When it was Deborah’s turn she blushed inwardly; her offering, a beautiful red jewel set in ebony, had forced her to cut back on food for the past month. Yet, seeing the envious looks of those around her as she approached the altar, a warmth spread through her and she felt satisfied. The Prophet stared into her eyes for a moment, kissed his hand, and pressed it on her forehead. “For this, my daughter, you shall be truly blessed. For the faith you have shown this day shall not be ignored by the Elect. They reward those who worship them.”

Deborah’s knees were so weak she struggled to get back to her seat.

One by one the congregation gave their contribution, until all were done. The Prophet offered a blessing over the offering, then opened the black book and began to read.

“Praise the Elect,” said the Prophet.
“Their ways are just,” said the congregation in response.
“Praise the Elect.”
“Their ways are true.”
“Praise the Elect.”
“They bring salvation.”
“Praise the Elect.”
“The noble few.”
“Praise the Elect.”
“We bring our offering.”
“Praise the Elect.”
“Our gift is known.”
“Praise the Elect.”
“Before each other.”
“Praise the Elect.”
“Our worship shown.”

One by one they left the Temple. As they did so, Deborah did not notice Simeon, another child in the crowd, pass her son a slip of paper; nor the knowing smile which passed between the two as they melted into the street.

------
http://twothirdsleft.wordpress.com


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The following comments are for "Anthropolis: Worship"
by JonnyT





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