Stories: Once Upon a Time…

Stories resound within us – they strike a chord within our very heartstrings, filling us to the brim.  Sometimes they fill us with yearning; other times, with fear.  We feel that good should win with such intensity that our hearts ache.  Yet even when good does win, there’s a small part of us that is sadly cynical – because things aren’t like that in “real life.”

But why can’t they be?  Well, there’s a Story for that, too.  It is the First Story, the original, if you will; and all our tales are pale reflections of this Story…


The Waiting Gap

We know the Lover and Beloved will be reunited.  We know that one day we’ll be in a place with no more tears, no more death, and no more pain.  The former things will have passed away, and all things will be made new (Rev. 21:4-5).  We don’t need to be troubled – we know He’s coming back.

We know this…yet we’ve grown weary of waiting.  We’re weary of the diagnosis being terminal, and watching our loved ones fade away.  We’re weary of reading of plane crashes and terrorist attacks in the news.  We’re weary of seeing our local youth succumb to Hopelessness and Despair, taking their own lives because they feel there’s no other way…


The Nature of our Stories

I have a rather fanciful view of how stories come to us. I imagine the stories roaming the earth on the wind, seeking a heart with ears to hear their whisper.  When they find that heart, they break their silence, and pour out the story they’ve kept hidden for centuries.  Sometimes they speak a song or symphony, other times a poem or novel.  The storyteller has but to listen, and he or she will be swept away into the tale’s river-like flow.

That is the work of the Spirit of God – for do you really think He left once the Word came forth?  Of course not.  His mission is to go before and behind the Word – Jesus Christ – and bring everything back to God…


Christ in our Stories

In the antediluvian world, the Truth of God quickly diverged into myriads of myths and legends.  Our stories spoke of great heroes, usually the sons of gods, who were given virtually impossible tasks to overcome. These stories did not seek God, but seem to spit in His face with their unbelief. 

But He is not far from each one of us, no matter the state of our heart.  God determined and appointed these stories so we might seek Him.  Israel knew what to look for in the Messiah, as God had chosen them as His Own.  The gentiles, however, had chosen to “exchange the truth for a lie.”  In His mercy, God allowed their stories to presage His Son so that when He came, they would recognize Him…

sleeping beloved

The Sleeping Beloved

“Sleeping Beauty” was my favorite story growing up.  Perhaps it was Aurora’s lovely blonde locks, or perhaps it was how much Prince Philip loved her and fought for her.  Probably both.  Either way, I was convinced I would be just like Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”, fairy friends and all. 

And then I grew up – and made a mess of everything.  I fell into my own “death-like sleep,” only to be re-awakened by Christ’s inexplicable love…

sleeping beloved

The First ‘Sleeping Beauty’

You have just read the original Sleeping Beauty tale.  Yes, that’s right.  The first Sleeping Beloved is the first human ever created: the man, Adam.  This story is special, as it occurs before the Fall of mankind.  It shows the ideal Sleeping Beloved, where there are no curses, only blessings.  What is taken is done in love, without pain, and is immediately returned seven-fold…

sleeping beloved

Our True Identity

From the beginning, God is very clear on how He sees us.  Read the verse above again.  Let it sink in.  Revel in the fact that we were made in His own image

You, my dear reader, are made in the image of a Holy and Loving God.  Therein lies your value, your worth, your identity.  And God does not hold His image-bearers cheaply, but has spilled lavish blood to redeem you.  You are, after all, His Beloved…

sleeping beloved

The Sleeping Beauty’s Identity

The defining trait of our “Sleeping Beauty” is that she must not touch a spindle (or flax, if you read the earlier versions), or else she will die.

This is a strange “curse” to our modern ears, for we’ve lost the significance of spinning in our culture.  Before the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century, every stitch of cloth came into being through the work of women…

sleeping beloved

Following the Spindle’s Thread

It’s time to meet our “Sleeping Beauties”!  The following versions are the ones most clearly showing a turn in the thread of the story.  There are, of course, hundreds of stories tracing their lineage back to the ones listed here.  

The tale we know today as “Sleeping Beauty” has its roots in the Norse and Germanic myths of Brunhild and Sigurd…

sleeping beloved

Introducing the Lovely Zellandine

The first Sleeping Beloved we’ll cover is Zellandine, whose story is just a small part of a larger saga called Perceforest: The Prehistory of King Arthur’s Britain.

The entire work is an anachronism.  It’s “a veritable encyclopaedia of 14th century chivalry,” but the stories describe events after Alexander the Great’s (fictitious) conquering of Britain and his naming of Perceforest as king of England…