Defending the Faith
A certain man set off into the wide world to defend God, to keep God’s word pure, and to punish those who wandered from the Way. He was well regarded, and celebrated among God’s people for his bravery, his courage, his strong arm and his sharp tongue.
In time, he heard rumor of an old heretic woman who lived upon a jagged mountaintop, and he went to find her and convert her or, failing that, destroy her.
The old woman greeted him at her modest cottage door. She did not mention his fine horse or the silk tunic he wore. Her calm eyes did not waver when he showed her the blade of his sword. Instead, she invited him to tea.
They sat at her humble table, together, he somewhat surprised and awkward, a small cup of tea warming the palms of his hands.
“Why have you come?” she asked.
“To defend God,” he said.
“He must be weak,” she said, “to need your defense. My God is a roaring flame, a savage whirlwind, a still voice after a mighty earthquake.”
“I have come,” said he, “to defend God’s Word.”
“God spoke and there was light. Can I speak darkness into being? His words are stronger than ours. Truth is discovered, not defended.”
His face darkened. “I have come to punish those who have wandered from the Way.”
She did not answer for a long time.
At last she put her wrinkled hands over his. “You have punished yourself long enough. Rest a while, and come home.”