First Reading. A reading from the letter of St. Deiseach to the Kopites.

It came to pass that the followers of the One True Faith were wandering in the desert for ten years. And their despair was great. For everywhere they looked, the teachings of their mortal enemy, the Evil Lord Demento held sway, even unto the dreaded Media. And the greatness that was the Nation of Liverpool had waned, and their lot was so filled with peril that they would drink from any cup offered to them, verily even from the Worthless Cup, to remove the dryness from their tongues.

And the people of the One True Faith did call out to the Creator, and their lamentations were heard throughout all of existence, and the very stones did recoil from the agony contained within. And they did call out “oh Great One, why hast thou forsaken us? Why must we be condemned to wander the desert while the Forces of Darkness doth have dominion over the entire world?” And the Great One was sorely troubled, for He grieved mightily for His followers, whose faith was being so distressingly put to the test.

Now the Forces of Darkness were strong, and they were many, and they did periodically encounter the Faithful in their lonely wanderings. The Nation of Liverpool did send forth their mightiest champions, and they did battle with bravery and fortitude, yea even in the midst of the most unholy cathedral of the Evil Lord Demento, where the Adjudicator would be tainted and Time itself would aid the hellish minions of Demento. Many times did they approach victory, only for the Cup to be dashed from their lips by the evil treachery of the Forces of Darkness.

And after half a score years, the followers of the One True Faith did fear that for all their righteousness and virtue, victory would be forever denied them. But as a new set of champions ventured forth to do battle, an unlikely hero was in their midst. Soothsayers and prophets did hear his name being whispered by the very molecules of Creation. And forsooth! the Power was in this hero. And this hero had a name. And his name was Danny Murphy.

Danny Murphy was one strong in the One True Faith. Many times he had been almost cast from the Garden of Anfield by those who could not see his might. And many times his carefully crafted set pieces had encountered the Woodwork of Fate. But he had endured, and he had blossomed. And as he strode once more into the Cathedral of Nightmares, the voice of the Creator’s representative on Earth spoke unto him. And it spoke the Words of Destiny: “If We Get A Free-Kick, You Take It”.

And it came to pass that an opportunity arose, and Danny Murphy did fail in his appointed task. And the Faithful were vexed. But Danny Murphy was unperturbed, for the Power flowed in his very veins. And as the battle reached its demi-termination, Danny Murphy did espy his opportunity. His Boot of Thunder he did swing with all his might and guile. And lo! the very Wall of Steel proved powerless before him, as did the Bald Gaul. And the Acolytes of Demento were stupefied, even unto their prawn sandwiches, which did turn to ashes in their mouth.

There was much rejoicing amongst the Faithful, even among those who did cower in their bed for fear of the consequences of our folly, to challenge the Forces of Evil in their own Temple of Torment. But the hero Danny Murphy was well aided by his fellow protectors, and they proved resolute in the face of the provocation by the despicable. Even the Serpent Keane, most powerful of Demento’s unholy lieutenants, did wither and putrefy when faced by the pure goodness of the hero called Steven Gerrard. And the vileness of the Infant Chadwick, of whom it was said he could eat an apple through a chicken wire fence, could not vanquish the defenders of the honour of the Nation of Liverpool.

The Adjudicator did terminate the battle, and behold! the Forces of Virtue were triumphant. And throughout the length and breadth of Christendom, there was much exultation. There was much weeping as the Faithful did realise the enormity of the achievement of their champions. But among the Acolytes of Demento, the wailing and gnashing of teeth was tenfold. And this brought even greater jubilation among the Faithful.

But as the Faithful did give thanks, the Voice of the Creator did speak unto them, and He said, “first is first, second is nowhere.” And the Faithful were hesitant. Then the Voice did speak again: “but for the moment, let’s enjoy beating the bastards!”

And there was much rejoicing.

This is the word of Shankly

Thanks be to Shankly.