Its gleaming arches stretched far above me, suspended between tall marble pillars. Stained glass glistened overhead, casting fairy shadows that danced in colors on the wall.
It was an ancient cathedral, majestic in design, and it was mine. I loved to sit on the huge golden throne at the front and admire its beauty. Especially, I admired the rules.
The rules weren’t there when the cathedral was crafted. No, I had hung the rules. See, when I moved in, there were holes in the wall. Big holes, where cold winter air seeped through and rain gushed in and splattered on the marble floor. I had to do something, so I wrote rules.
The rules worked excellently to cover the holes. People came into my cathedral. They oohed and aahed over the high vaulted ceilings, the marble, the glass – but when they noticed the rules, they were especially impressed. They admired me for those rules. I knew they wouldn’t be enthralled with the holes, so I made sure nobody would ever see them. They were covered securely with rules.
I wrote rules about everything. There were rules for other people. If they broke my rules, I frowned. I ground them under my feet and stood on top, higher than before. There were rules for me. There were even rules for God. He soon broke my rules for Him, God did, and I judged Him harshly.
Then, I began to break my rules for myself. I, the judge who had written the rules, I who had crowned myself Queen of the Cathedral – I, who in my world ranked the highest – I had broken the rules.
I was devastated. From my throne, I saw the rules all staring at me, silently. Condemningly. I shrank from their glaring eyes. I hid behind the throne. My cathedral had become my prison. There was no escape, for I had judged even mercy cruel.
That was when he walked in.
“Hello?” He called. His clear voice echoed through the cathedral.
I quickly put on a huge smile and stood up. “Hi!” I said brightly. “Forgive me, I was just polishing my beautiful marble floor – wasn’t planning for visitors today! But since you’re here, welcome to my cathedral! Notice the high vaulted ceilings, the stained glass, the fairy dancing bits of light that sparkle on the walls. Many people are especially interested in reading my rules. Go ahead, there are a lot of them. I am a truly moral person. Rules are so important.” I spoke very fast, hoping that he would soon leave like the rest.
He stepped over to a rule, but he didn’t read it. With an easy motion, he brushed it off the wall and it clattered on the marble. He looked at the hole and sighed. “Yes, those rules are important, aren’t they?”
I stared at him dumbly. No one had ever looked behind my rules. No one had ever brushed them aside. The hole was huge and bleak, and it grew larger before my eyes as gusts of wind whisked away bits of the crumbling wall.
“Who are you?” I whispered.
He turned back to me. The sunlight streamed through the hole behind him, silhouetting him in light. He answered quickly, “Truth. My name is Truth.” Then he asked if he could tell me a story. At my nod, he began.
“I knew a King who loved cathedrals. He built them with the most beautiful designs – vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows, marble floors. Then there was a revolt, and all the cathedrals began to crumble. What was good had become marked with evil. It was a tragedy. But the King loved to fix holes, to make mended cathedrals even more beautiful than when they were first designed. One day, he left his home to rebuild them.
He soon found that there were men in the cathedrals who made rules. Ruthlessly they ground people under their feet, killing them with rules. They spent their lives covering holes with rules. What they didn’t know was that rules can’t cover holes. Holes can only be fixed by one man – the King. He came to them, and tried to tell them the truth. But they killed him.”
“They killed him!” I gasped. My heart sank. As he spoke, I had been longing for this King to visit my cathedral.
“Yes.” His face had grown sad, and he stared at the ceiling as if lost in thought. “That was a sad day. A very difficult day. They needed him, yet they killed him.”
“I need him, too,” I murmured, my eyes on the hem of my gown. “Why did that happen? I don’t understand it.” Everything seemed lost forever. My cathedral was crumbling, and the sad stories of this stranger only made it all worse.
“Did you say you needed him?”
I jumped. He had walked over and now stood beside me. I lifted my solemn eyes to meet his. I was surprised to see they sparkled merrily.
“Here I am. I am Truth, and I am the King. I love this cathedral, and I want to mend these holes. I fought Evil to the death, and when I came back to life, I rose with power to restore what Evil had destroyed. Yes, and I will make it even more beautiful than before. I have an amazing plan to remodel these walls. But, there is something.” He paused.
“The throne. When I built this, I placed that throne there for me. I’ll help you fix the cathedral, but that has to be my seat. I must be in charge. What’s more, all the reconstruction has to be done just as I direct, at the pace I set. And you will need to help.”
I understood what he was asking. His first few words had told me I really wasn’t the queen I had supposed myself to be. He was authority, and power, and brilliance – a force to be reckoned with. The laws I had written only applied to my kingdom. I had imagined that kingdom to be mine, but I now realized with horror that it was an evil, subversive kingdom I had joined.
“Yes, my King. I have been very wrong. The throne is yours. The cathedral is yours. I will help you fix the walls.”
He smiled at me then, and said, “Come. I want to show you just how beautiful this cathedral can be.”
So, we work together, my King and I. I’m finding that holes are perfect places for new windows, huge sparkling ones in a kaleidoscope of colors. People still come to see me, and sometimes they frown at the unfinished holes, the ones that are only half covered in glass.
“Oh, but just look at what my King is doing!” I tell them.
“Your king?” They ask, confused.
“Yes, my King. Can I tell you a story?” And I tell them His.
And so I live in grace, this dance of fallen rising to the light
In deep dependence I am bound to Him who bled for me
His glory sparkles from a thousand stained glass windows,
And high vaulted ceilings echo praise as we sing together
Over His work and mine.
Forever on his throne is He who holds the key to each cathedral
True worship found its home at last where it was made to be.