|The Devil as depicted in the Codex Gigas
Satan, Lucifer, El Diablo; perhaps you call him Beelzebub or the Prince of Darkness. Maybe you just refer to him as the Devil. But (with apologies to the Bard) a devil, by any other name, still smells of sulfur.
A Black Mass is a ritual whereby those who would pay homage to Satan mock the traditions of the Catholic celebration of Mass, usually by stealing a consecrated “host” and desecrating it in ways best left unspoken in this venue. For my unlearned protestant friends, the host is what we would refer to as the bread in Holy Communion (except for the consecration of said host, which gets into a whole other discussion on transubstantiation vs. consubstantiation, which discussion we shall save for another time).
Of course, there are other individuals - Christian Leaders - who would see this worship service banned. They have started an on-line petition to the city fathers requesting they withdraw access to the city’s civic center. Were such a petition to be successful, I would anticipate a similar petition when one of these church fathers tries to rent that same public facility for a Christian worship service. Such are the ways of a society that practices freedom of religion.
This attempt to fight the Satanists got me thinking – battling the devil in a court of law – wouldn’t that be fighting a spiritual battle in a natural arena? I would think the best way to stop a satanic ritual is to introduce the Satanists to Jesus Christ as their own savior.
I’m reminded of my friend Joey. Joey is the pastor of a church in a small town in a small county; a county to which thousands of fans of the rock and roll group Insane Clown Posse would converge annually for several days of drunken debauchery. Joey and other spiritual leaders of the area tried to stop this yearly desecration of their homeland. They signed petitions. They fought in the courts. They prayed for hours on end. But the Juggalos kept coming (Juggalos are fans of the Insane Clown Posse).
Then my friend Joey got a revelation. “Hey,” he thought, “Instead of fighting this, why don’t we embrace it!” So Joey got permission from the Insane guys to set up a tent and feed the Juggalos.
Sandwiches and Salvation! Joey learned that a couple of sandwiches went a long way with a group of kids that had remembered their beer but forgotten there are no McDonalds in the middle of the forest. And lo and behold, before the end of the Insane party, my friend Pastor Joey was baptizing ex-juggalos in the Ohio River!
The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon said it best, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” There aren’t any new devils, just the same old bunch, regurgitated into a new generation of idiots. And so we have Black Mass Hysteria! You would think that by now we Christians would have learned how to deal with them.
Illustration from the Codex Gigas, in the public domain.