(I’m still working on Part Two of “What is Biblical Theology?”, and should post it early next week. In the meantime, to tide you over for the Labor Day weekend [as if you needed tiding over], I thought I’d post this little short story that I first wrote, very sketchily, over forty years ago, and have been adding bits and pieces to ever since. I hope you find it interesting, and even helpful. Don’t judge too harshly; it doesn’t have much literary merit; but I hope it might have merit otherwise.)
Once there was a great king who ruled over a vast realm. The time had now come for the Prince, his one and only son, to give serious consideration to obtaining a wife. So the king called his son, the prince, before him, and encouraged him to start the process.
The prince, who, by the way, was quite handsome and splendid looking, started searching for the girl who was to be his bride. Soon, he found a girl with whom he fell madly in love. The search was over! The prince had found his bride, the one who would be the new princess. This should have been cause for great rejoicing. There were, however, a couple of complications.
First, and quite inexplicably, he had chosen for his bride a girl who was just about the ugliest girl in the whole land. Out of all the beautiful girls he could have chosen, his affections fell on this very ugly girl. Not plain, but ugly. You know the old saying: “Beauty is skin deep; but ugly goes right down to the bone. Beauty fades with age; but ugly holds her own.” The palace was scandalized. The great king’s servants were absolutely embarrassed. How could such a fine, handsome, splendid prince have chosen such an ugly girl for his wife. This is not the way things are done. Both the prince’s and the great king’s reputations were bound to suffer. All the king’s advisors counselled him to sternly warn the prince that he must find another bride, one who would be more acceptable. This marriage must not take place; the dignity and honor of the royal household must not be compromised. After all, what would visiting dignitaries from foreign countries think?
Second, and perhaps even more inexplicably, the girl, it turned out, refused the proposal of marriage. She informed the prince that marriage to him was quite out of the question, for, she did not love him; in fact, she had no feeling or affection for him at all. And nothing the prince could do or say would change her mind. She simply was not going to marry him. As embarrassed as the palace was over the prince’s choice of this girl for a bride, the outrage was even greater that this stupid girl would spurn the prince’s proposal of marriage. How dare she insult and treat the prince this way! But, then, all the people in the palace began to realize that this second complication solved the first complication. So their anger and indignation turned to relief. The marriage was not going to take place. The dignity and majesty of the palace would be maintained. The prince would now have to search for another bride. And, hopefully, this time, the choice would be a more much more appropriate one.
The king called his son, the prince, before him and asked him what he was going to do now. The prince replied in this way: “Father, I love this girl. And I am going to win her affection and her love. I am going to make her my bride—even if I have to die in order to do it”
And that is just what happened. The prince died. And when he did, a process was begun, one in which the ugly girl would be transformed into a beautiful, radiant bride, with no stain or wrinkle or blemish, and dressed in a brilliant white gown. A process was begun in which the heart of the girl was changed, so that she could no longer resist the love he lavished on her. Indeed, now, there was born in her heart a gratitude and a love for the prince that would be undying.
And, the prince? Three days later he rose from the dead. He ascended to heaven. And one day he will come to receive his bride to himself for ever and ever. A royal wedding banquet has been planned. The invitations have already gone out. The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” You, the reader, get to finish the story. Have you responded yet?
August 29, 2013