Long hours of relentless labor in tare-strewn fields have exacted a heavy toll. Faint from lack of sustenance, I collapse at the foot of the entryway marked with holy blood.
So tired. But I must... press... in. You can do it, man! That's it. One... more... push.
At last the wood gives way. Boldly I enter this prayer closet, heart set on Sabbath rest.
"Grant me sleep," I pray, eyes heavy with sorrow.
From the west resounds the mighty call.
"Behold the bridegroom!"
From the east a golden sun shines pools of living light upon my crown. My jewel, my chosen one, has fretted long among the ashes. But to what end?
The hangers in this wardrobe drip with amazing colors. I choose rich purple for myself, pure white for her. Then off I set to seek the lady draped in soot and sack cloth.
Ah, there she is, in the kitchen, smothered in steam, slicing onions over a boiling cauldron.
I extend my hand to display the prize.
"Good news, Cinderella."
She wipes a damp curl from her forehead, blue eyes blinking away tears as she turns toward me. Her jaws drop open.
"Are those for real?" She's never seen shoes like these before.
"Clear diamonds for the pure in heart, transparent as the sea of glass beneath His throne."
"But I in filthy rags!"
"Exchanged for His righteousness." I show her the garment and the invitation.
Her cheeks flush crimson at the words.
"Have yourself a ball?"
"Yes, a marvelous day off."
The message sinks deeply into her ears, instantly transforming her dress. No need for wands to point out flaws, nor for a pumpkin. We'll take the flaming chariot drawn by fiery steeds.
Here our minds are calmed, our strength renewed by peace that breaks the bounds of our understanding. The ride is ours to thoroughly enjoy, a marvelous flight unmarred by the sweat and strain of earthbound turbulence.
Deep draughts of heavenly air fill our senses with delight.
Streams of living water so refreshing, so invigorating!
Soon we've reached the palace gates, which open of their own accord. It's my privilege to escort her down a set of ivory stairs into the banquet hall.
Oh, what a marvelous place! Everything here, from singing chandeliers exalting good cheer to brilliant white table cloths devoid of every spot, opens a menu to fine dining.
Reflected in myriad mirrors lining hallowed walls, liberty's perfect law proclaims, "No sickness, disease, stress or fatigue allowed. The king proclaims no heaviness shall dampen this celebration. So leave your crutches at the door, take up your place mat and walk. Freedom rules here."
Once all are seated, the host commands a blessing. "Father, we thank Thee."
Our plates immediately fill with bread, our cups with overflowing wine. Merrily we eat and drink, feasting on the riches of God's grace to which He adds no trouble.
The fragrance of fresh roses tantalizes my nostrils.
I see the prince is here to call upon my jewel. A magnificent man is he, of great gentility, and more majestic than the morning star. I feel His goodness quench my unworthiness. His love has released us all from Pharaoh's slavery. Now He has come to claim His bride.
He bows, she curtsies, then rising accepts his hand. He wraps a gentle arm around her waist and whisks her away across the dance floor. She follows his lead effortlessly, gliding joyously along the path lit only by the glory of His presence.
Make the most of it while you can, my queen, for no holiday in this world lasts forever.
Midnight falls too soon, thus ending twenty-four hours of perfect bliss. The dream departs, the heavy yoke is back. Soon the steps will return, trampling Cinderella underfoot with fresh demands. I too feel the weight of it. We all do.
Remember, dear cousin, that the dowry of an identity well sequestered is worth its faith in gold. Meanwhile I'll watch at the gate and pray your daring risk pays off.
In time a clop of dignified hoof beats announces his arrival.
Behold the noble steed led by the noble prince,
Whose right hand grasps a bridle, his left eye a hangman's noose!
A death sentence overhangs my head. I'll not be fooled by empty promises of honor. And yet I wonder...
This Agagite Haman has fear in his eyes. I don't know why, but I sense a marvelous holiday coming on.
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