Friday, April 29, 2011

Another Royal Wedding to Anticipate

With all eyes on the Royal Wedding of William and Kate today, I decided to repost a story I wrote about the greatest love story of all time...and the much anticipated Royal Wedding that is to come.

The Peasant and the Prince
by Sharlyn Guthrie

A young peasant woman shuddered at the sight of the prince striding toward her. Shrinking into the shadows she attempted to hide, fearful of his motive in seeking her out. She had spat at him yesterday as he passed, though she hadn’t thought he’d noticed.

The shadows failed to conceal her. He grasped her with firm, yet surprisingly gentle hands. “I saw you on the street yesterday.”

Her eyes scanned the pebbles near his feet and her throat constricted, preventing a reply.
Placing one finger under her chin, he tipped her head, causing her to meet his tender gaze. He wiped a smudge from her cheek, then caught her as her knees buckled.

“I have come to offer you this.” He smiled, extending a roll of parchment tied with red ribbon. “It is a ketubah, a marriage contract. I love you, and wish for you to become my kallah, my bride.”

“You? Marry me?” She searched his face for the mockery she expected to see, but none was found. “I haven’t a dowry,” she managed, ashamed.

“It makes no difference. If you accept my proposal I will see to it that you are housed and cared for until I return to take you as my wife. It’s all here in the ketubah: my love for you, my intent to marry you, and promises to fulfill all of my obligations to you both now and in the future.”

“But where will you be?”

“I am going away to prepare our future home. I can’t say when I will return, only that I will. And when I do, you must be ready for our marriage. Will you accept me as your groom, your choson?”

“Oh yes, I do accept!” She bent to kiss his feet, but was quickly drawn up into his embrace.

“Then you must begin now to act worthy of me. Go, change your clothes and ready yourself for the day of my return.”

One rapturous kiss was shared, and the prince left as quickly as he had come. Word of the betrothal spread, and many were taken aback. Why would a prince marry a peasant woman? Some were angered, while others simply chose not to believe it was true. Still others marveled at the mystery and intrigue of the unlikely match.

The kallah soon discovered that her temporary home was situated in the realm ruled by the prince’s arch-enemy. Still, she cheerfully went about her preparations for marriage, concerning herself with little else. Her new life contrasted sharply with the life she had lived as a peasant. Few had taken notice of her in the past, but with her name now linked to that of her choson, all eyes, it seemed, were on her.

Attractive suitors clamored for her attention –men of strength, ardor, and shocking impropriety. Their attention was flattering, nevertheless. One offered wealth beyond compare, another fame and recognition throughout every worldly kingdom, yet another promised amazing supernatural powers. Such offers sometimes tempted the kallah, who was growing weary, and at times impatient.

Each suitor was seemingly more attractive than the last. When their charming ways failed to entice her, their tactics became less subtle. “Didn’t he say he would return?” they taunted, “Where is your choson? See? He has left you with only a ketubah filled with empty promises. Surely he is dead, or else he has found another lover more worthy of his name.”

Confused, the kallah unrolled the ketubah, seeking her beloved’s wisdom. “Be on the alert for imposters sent by the enemy,” it said. “They are wolves in sheep’s clothing who seek to snatch you away from me. Don’t pay them any heed. Keep your heart pure.”

Years passed, and life went on around her. Most of the kingdom dwellers lost interest in the story of the peasant and the prince. When the aging woman attempted to remind them, they laughed. “You’re still waiting for your prince? You’re missing all the fun. Don’t you know that purity is outdated? A real lover wouldn’t expect you to wait so long.”

Still, the kallah remained faithful, yearning for her beloved. The wait had been long, and sometimes it seemed unbearable. But day after day she reached for the well-worn ketubah, and each day its words rekindled her passion and restored her longing. For once she was merely a peasant woman in soiled garments, but soon her home would be a palace. She knew the prince, her precious choson would come.

If you would like to participate in Fiction Friday or post your own fiction, please visit Writing With Debra.

Friday, April 22, 2011

One Tiny Tender Shoot

One Tiny Tender Shoot

From barren soil, drought-stricken, parched
one tiny tender Shoot appeared.
So plain and homely was its form
it was not welcomed nor revered
where men in sullen shadows marched.

Abundant sorrow shame and grief
bent the Sprout low to the ground,
so smitten and afflicted here
that even God most surely frowned,
making its earthly visit brief.

I saw through eyes blind and diseased;
I saw, and yet assumed the worst:
Death was the end –His just reward,
but of the dead He was the first
to end its curse, and God was pleased!

Abundant love coursed through His veins,
abundant pardon, mercy, grace
gushed from violent gaping wounds,
compassion dripping from His face;
Only His righteousness remains.

Broken and bathed in Jesus’ blood
my sins are gone, my sight restored!
The Bud, once stricken, scorned, despised
now stately, treasured, and adored;
once-thirsty soil quenched by the flood.

Abundant life and joy and peace
sustain my spirit, soul and mind!
I feast on Him, my daily bread,
And drink His water, milk, and wine…
abundant gifts that never cease!

~Sharlyn Guthrie
(Based on Isaiah 53 and 55:1)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring Again, and Again, and Again...

I love Spring…awakening to bird song, browns and greys turning to lush greens, life bursting from every crevice! No wonder I am thrilled to be experiencing Spring for the third time this year. That’s right –this late Iowa spring, long in the coming, interrupted this morning by light snow, is my third!

My second Spring was experienced in South Carolina the last week of March.

In February I had the privilege of traveling to Wales for Heart of God East Africa. I traveled with Denise and Jan –a whirlwind trip, but so beautiful, inspiring, and fruitful. I certainly didn’t expect to be greeted by Spring there, but what a wonderful surprise to discover green grass, crocus and daffodils brightening up the landscape.

We were met in London by our hosts, Mary and Alwyn. Mary is the founder of King's Primary School, the school in Bunambutye, Uganda, where I have visited the past two summers.

Up until the time of our visit, we had only communicated with Mary by email, so of course we wondered if communication would be easier or more difficult in person; if it would take some time to warm up to each other, or if we would feel an immediate connection. The five hour drive with three of us squeezed into the back seat of their compact car provided plenty of time for "warming up." Along the way we each shared our testimony of coming to know Jesus Christ. What a precious time of instant bonding!

As we entered Wales, we soon became accustomed to seeing all the signs printed in both English and Welsh.

Mary drove us to their home in Abertysswg Village, nearly five hours from the airport. Abertysswg means “mouth of the river, ” and was originally built as a mining town.

Mary and Alwyn’s home is called Glan Yr Afon, or “river side.” One of the only stand-alone houses in the village, it is over 100 years old. The setting couldn’t have been more idyllic.

I particularly loved this view from my bedroom window...

Mary and Alwyn made us feel welcome and comfortable. They invited some other friends of King’s Primary School to come and meet us, and we all had such a great time of fellowship. What a treat to be their guests! We made some exciting plans for the school, and decided on some projects for the large team that will be traveling there in July of this year. One of the men, an engineer who helped to build the school, has made plans that our team will use to wire the school for electricity. It has been so amazing to see God working through these plans, providing just the right people for the jobs! He has answered each prayer so specifically, that we can’t help but see that He is in it!

We had time for a little sightseeing, too. Caerphilly…

Cardiff Bay…

The Welsh Parliament…

Theatre of the Arts…

It was an amazing trip that ended too soon, but as we returned from sightseeing this bit of graffiti spotted on a wall reminded us of our united purpose...

So true! The Bible states it this way, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?"* We are here to confirm that God is in the business of intimately knowing and changing hearts in Iowa, California, Ohio, Wales, and Uganda!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation. The old is gone. The new has come!"**. Now, doesn't that sound like Spring?

* Jeremiah 17:9

** 2 Corinthians 5:17