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Sermon From the Ashes

Once there was a man who wore a rose on his lapel, but kept his heart off his sleeve. He was a wise man and the disciple of a wise man who was dead. Both were from a nation half-way around the world and were between two worlds. The first man raised the conqueror's thumb from his nation and stopped war there. The second wise man said he desired to stop war throughout the world.

In the time of the second man a meeting place of nations was founded by other wise men who desired an end to war. One day the head council of this group learned that the nation of the two wise men had tried to obtain a piece of propert which belonged to no one but was ruled by a prince and claimed by a nation near that of the wise men had tried to obtain a piece of property this small principality and declared that its citizens should decide which of the two neighboring countries the small nation would join. For nine years the nation of the two wise and holy men delayed the vote, for it feared, and rightly, that the vote would not be favorable. Meanwhile, the second of the men of wisdom and holiness did much to improve his reputation as a Moral Authority, a position which in those days was exalted in men's minds, but did not pay well. Many said that this man, coming as he did from a land between two worlds, would be a bridge between the two, and would prevent war breaking out.

As the man who wore a rose in his lapel increased his exaltedness as a Moral Authority so that he shone exceeding bright in the eyes of the world, he increased the prestige (also important in those days long past) of the world council. He refused, however, to let the plebiscite be held, but he was very devious in his obstructionism and few were aware of it.

Finally the head council of the world body ordered him for the fifth time and unanimously (with one abstention) to hold the plebiscite, but it was too late. The Moral Authority, the bridge between two worlds, the man who had cast dust into the eyes of the world that he might appear bright had arranged for annexation of the most valuable part of the small principality. He ignored the head council of the world body and achieved his maneuver.

Then the nations of the world wiped the dust from their eyes and saw the wise man as he was. The wise man was no longer a Moral Authority at all, but being a wise man he was aware that his former position did not pay nearly as well as the one he had now gained. He still wore a rose on his lapel, but his heart was not in the right place. It shifted continually.

The world council sought about for another Moral Authority and another bridge, but it did not find one and wars broke out. The nation of the two wise men was soon reduced to ashes as was most of the rest of the world. And the wise man's rose wilted and his heart stopped.

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