Anglican Morning Devotion for 28 July 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”
(Matthew 13:24-30; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
In the Fairy Tales of the Brother’s Grimm, there are many stories with points of comparison with the Gospels whether by intention or by coincidence. One such story with profound similarities to the biblical account of the Church is Sleeping Beauty, or Little Rose Briar. Of course, the Church has never yet to be perfect for with every Rose there is an accompanying array of thorns and briars. When the Light of the sun is shed abroad in the Church, the enemy cannot openly sow seeds of decent and division; but come the time of shadow and sin, the enemy is able to sow his seeds of wickedness abroad while men sleep. “But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.” (Matthew 13:25)
In the tale of Sleeping Beauty, the King had no children. He and His Queen prayed for a child and, in the process of time, a daughter was born to the King. The Church of God, too, was born through the agency of the Holy Spirit and redemption made available though God (the King’s) only Begotten Son.
But in the Garden, eastward in Eden, the maleficent one personified by the serpent, enticed Eve and her husband, Adam, to sin and bring a curse upon all the host of mankind. The curse of sin was much like the curse of the maleficent fairy who cast a curse upon Little Briar Rose that she would prick her finger and die when seventeen years of age. This, sadly, was done at her Christening Feast given by her father the King. The curse of death brought upon Adam was ameliorated by the Father’s provision of His Son coming to redeem of that curse of death in Christ.
There was one good fairy in our fairy tale who waited behind the curtain to pronounce a means of removing the curse of death proclaimed by the evil one. The good fairy stepped at last from behind the curtain to say: “Do not grieve, O King and Queen. Your daughter shall not die. I cannot undo what my elder sister has done; the princess shall indeed prick her finger with the spindle, but she shall not die. She shall fall into sleep that will last a hundred years. At the end of that time, a king’s son will find her and awaken her.”
I need not remind the biblically conversant readers of this devotion that the Church has fallen asleep from the prick of the serpent. But her sleep is not eternal. Like Sleeping Beauty, she has been redeemed and will be received as the Bride of Christ at the glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In our tale, sleeping Beauty did fall asleep at her seventeenth birthday. She slept for one hundred years as prophesied by the good fairy. The entire palace fell asleep. The great walls of the Palace grounds were overgrown with the thorns and thistles of forgetfulness just as the modern church as forgotten her first love in sleep. But after the time appointed of one hundred years, a fine young Prince sighted the Palace towers rising above the thorns and thistles. After inquiring and learning the story, he fell in love with the sleeping princess behind the ruins. He entered the grounds and the underbrush of thorns disappeared before him. He found the young Princess and was fascinated by her beauty. As he kissed her, she awoke to her Princess just as the Church will do in time.
I still love fairy tales even if as an old soldier and servant of the Lord. I hope they continue to enlighten the imagination of our children and even our old men and women. But most of all, I pray that they encourage us to know better the true Love story of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Bride, the Church.