There was once a great and noble king, a greater king the world had never known. For his dwelling he built a gleaming castle high atop the tallest mountain in the realm, a mountain shrouded in the clouds.
Far, far below, where man and beast dwelt in the shadow of the mount, none could see the castle on the peak; some said it wasn’t really there. Down in that nether-world the king’s loyal subjects grew fewer by the day, until the king’s decrees were scarcely heeded, scarcely known at all. Rebellion was in the air.
The people could see their neighboring lords, mighty men all, and soon swore oaths to serve for their advance, were promised mirth and merriment in return. But these lords were false, and through deceit quickly had the people as their slaves.
But on one bright winter’s day, down came the Prince from the castle on the peak, and with his mighty sword put to flight those lying lords and freed the slaves, but suffered wounds five times himself.
And now by persuasion of the valiance of the Prince, the people forswore themselves again, in solemn ceremony, to their noble king, ere, striding upward, the Prince returned to his castle home in the clouds.
Some days later, the town in council gathered, pondered what new tax or toil might be their reward for rebellion of sad renown, when with a sudden rush of wind and flash of fire, a sacred wizard appeared before them, down from King and Prince, to guide them upward, as by mystic transport, to the castle on the peak.
With the wave of the wizard’s wand, man, woman, and child were whisked away and lifted through the clouds, and entrance was given to the king’s great hall.
The whole company of the king’s counselors were there assembled round the throne, and at the wizard’s beckon, the way was parted, the people approached in fear.
But, behold, before them, with hands outstretched and entreaty on his lips, stood the Prince, the King addressing:
“O King, my father, these be mine, of mine own blood bought. Look here upon my wounds. Receive them well, and not for ill-thought treason refuse. For I and they are sworn together as a man, and if thou wilt cast them off, thou must cast me off as well.”
The King’s solemn countenance then did break into joyful radiance, and all the hall was filled with laughter and with song as, from the eldest to the youngest, all extolled their sovereign lord.
Then, and every first-day, sat they all down together to eat and drink their Lord’s blessing – the Prince himself their server – in the great hall of the castle on the peak.
Jesus said to His disciples that it was given them to know plainly the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. But sometimes a parable helps.
The Very Rev. Jerry D. Kistler is Rector of St. Stephen's Anglican Church and Dean of the Deanery of the West, REC-DMA.