“William and Kate to Visit New Zealand.”
This recent headline reminded me of a message given by a British Bible teacher, David Pawson where he commented on the marriage of the future king of England, Prince William to a commoner, Katherine. He mentioned that this was the first time a future English monarch had married someone who wasn’t part of the nobility. A past king, Edward VIII, had abdicated when love for a woman exceeded his devotion to his country’s traditions. But things are different now.
Pawson drew a parallel between this modern love story and the ancient record of Solomon and the Shulamite, another royal love story involving a lowly farm girl. In his wonderful Bible commentary, “Unlocking the Bible,” Pawson explains his interpretation of the Song of Songs as an analogy of our love to the King of kings.
A similar plot line is found in “Cinderella”, the tale of a common servant girl winning the heart of the prince. “Cinderella” is, by far, the most popular fairy tale of them all. There’s a new movie made from the story almost every year. Songs and plays also abound. A simple web search will uncover not only it’s popularity, but also the number of similar tales told throughout the world and for hundreds of years. For example, the first known version of the story appears to be from Greece in the first century BC. It’s the story of Rhodopis recorded by the Greek historian, Strabo. There are also similar variants from Ireland, Korea, China and perhaps the most famous one, which Disney popularized, is from France in the 18th century.
Why do these stories capture our hearts, so we enjoy the same plot repeatedly, no matter how it’s packaged?
Maybe because it’s like the BIG story, how the King of kings came to rescue us from our unfortunate situation and lifts us to a place of friendship and love, despite our background and past failings.
For me, these stories show aspects of our relationship to God that could affect the way we worship him.
Jesus’ position as the victorious King demands the utmost respect and honor. But his love for us draws us close in tenderness and warmth. Kate not only seems to be truly in love with William, but she must also live with the responsibilities of his position as the future king of England. Great respect and tender love need not be opposites, they are seen blending together as we ponder the stories of William and Kate, Solomon with the Shulamite, and Cinderella marrying the handsome prince.
We need not feel strange experiencing God’s tenderness and sweet presence, while also considering his almighty power and position as creator and sustainer of the universe.