Søren Kierkegaard tells this story…
Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden.
This king was like no other king. Every statesman trembled before his power. No one dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents. And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden. How could he declare his love for her?
In an odd sort of way, his kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist–no one dared resist him. But would she love him?
She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? Would she be happy at his side? How could he know? If he rode to her forest cottage in his royal carriage, with an armed escort waving bright banners, that too would overwhelm her.
He did not want a cringing subject.
He wanted a lover.
A story like that makes me wonder a couple things.
Those times when I’m pretty sure that God should do things another way… could it be that my failure to understand His ways is rooted in my failure to grasp Him as one seeking a lover. Above everything else that He is, He is a one seeking a lover. I mean, the whole story builds upon that supposition.
“Suppose there was a king who loved…”
I’d do well to sit and soak in that phrase for a while. A little self-interrogation might follow: “DO YOU suppose such a thing, Jason? Because you’ve got no shot at syncing yourself with any part of God if you’re off on that first beat.”
I also wonder what it would take to express, with my life, to the world that first and vital supposition–that there is a king who loves. Every time I am made aware of people whose experiences with churches or “religious folks” have spoken messages of judgment or exclusion most loudly, I feel that guilt by association. And to any reader with such experiences, I do offer my apologies for my entire faith family. I have such experiences too, but at least I’m being wounded by my kin.
At this moment, I just find myself wanting to live with a flavour that makes the obvious first line of my story, “Suppose there was a king who loved…”.
Because a opening line like that would HAVE to lead to a great story.