By Jacques d’Nalgar, Fourth of July, 2010
This I write, Octavius Fuluvim, humble servant of our Lord Jesus Christ, on the august occasion of a rare conjunction of our weekly gathering of Roman believers with the empire’s annual festivities honoring the she-wolf’s suckling of Romulus and Remus. It is a faithful account of all that I observed at this saints’ assembly, this co-joined holy day and holiday.
It should be noted that our meeting together began according to the fashion of these times, although the tinkling brass and galley drums seemed to all more strident than usual. The old centurions were easily seen among us and when the bishop honored them, all in our company cheered them mightily with loud hosannas and huzzahs. “Who among you battled against the Germanic tribes along the frontiers of Venedi? Who helped drive the Celtic pagans into the northern climes of Brittania? Are there any here among us today who sacked Jerusalem and the towns of Palestinium?”
Each time the bishop thundered forth his question, old warriors slowly rose to the acclamation of the church. And each time, we thrilled at the remembrance of Rome’s might and breadth. Surely we are blessed by Jehovah! Surely His favor on our empire is manifest! Golden mountains of treasure and long lines of chained slaves, of which I once was one (captured in the wilds of Gaul), stream into our beautiful city of alabaster and marble, testament to His providence upon us Romans. Surely we are a chosen race, a special people.
The church musicians played anthems of the empire, remembrances of old military campaigns all but forgotten in the lore of Rome, hearkening our thoughts back to ancient wars and glorious times of conquest and rapine. A prayer was offered for the empire’s continued glory. The banners of Rome waved before us, fields of color behind sacred words of our holy scripture. Then words of praise and adoration and awe were hung from new banners but few among us who could follow the curious melodies, other than trained minstrels arrayed behind the bishop’s pedestal.
We were urged unto holiness and righteousness, that the abundance of Rome might endure and even expand unto hintermost parts beyond the wilderness frontiers of our empire. The bishop sternly admonished the saints to beware emperors bearing gifts that betrayed the limits of Rome’s treasury beyond all that we sense as common. As the bells tolled, for the celebration of empire and also our Lord Jesus Christ waxed long, he beseeched us, mere sinful creatures that we are but for the grace of God, to allow the Creator of the Cosmos to impute His righteousness upon us.
And the people said, “Amen.”