The Great King And The Virus

A Parable

A long time ago and for reasons we can never fully comprehend, a Great King decided to build a perfect place. He chose an island in the middle of a peaceful, azure sea and went to work immediately to make all things, as I’ve mentioned, supremely perfect. Anything that did not belong, such as weeds, biting insects, and of course snakes, were removed. The waters that flowed lazily from the mountains on the island were filtered clear as they made their way to the pristine beaches far below. By some stroke of genius that is not available to us, he even made the temperature a perfect seventy-two degrees year round. By the time he was finished with his work, any of his subjects who witnessed it had to agree it was perfect; as no expense and no effort had been spared to make it such.

He chose two of his subjects, a man and a woman, and placed them on the island to enjoy it and take care of it. He asked for nothing from them in return. This in itself was quite unbelievable, because there wasn’t anything special about the two people, at least not compared to all of the other subjects in his kingdom. But not only was it so, it was what he wanted to do.

He instructed them on the care and management of the island, and visited the happy couple daily in the cool of the evenings to see how things were going. Although they had free run of the estate, he warned them both of a hidden cave near the mountains, for that is where he had placed all the bad things he had removed from the island during its construction. To venture into the cave would surely mean a release of those things, with an end result of the island becoming no longer perfect. It was a simple enough request on his part, because after all, anything else, including and up to the desires of their hearts, were made available to them in the perfect world in which they lived.

Time passed, how long we do not know, but of course eventually chance happened to place them at the entrance of the forbidden cave. And due to their human nature (curiosity killed the cat) they entered for ‘just a quick look’ to see the things hidden deep within the cavern for themselves. The items they saw were strangely interesting, and unusually revolting at the same time. But in any case, the damage was already done by the time they had entered the cave – even if they did not realize it. The Great King had removed a dreadful disease from the island, isolated it into a mystic vial, and placed it in the cave for safe keeping. Unfortunately as the woman looked through the contents of the cave, she stumbled and knocked the vial from its shelf, breaking it open and releasing its toxic contents into the air.

Later that evening the Great King returned and could tell that something was out of sorts as the couple no longer responded to him as they had up until that point. Through his wisdom and powers of deduction he knew what had happened and questioned them on what they had done. For the first time, the couple felt fear, an emotion that had never been part and parcel to their island paradise before. After blaming each other for the indiscretion of entering the forbidden cave, they admitted something was amiss and came clean as to their dubious deed. They knew they needed help, and they also understood the Great King was the only one who could cure them.

“You have a virus.” The Great King began. “There is no remedy for now. You must live with the symptoms in the meantime.” He explained to them that of course the island would never be the same, yet he promised them that he would return to his kingdom and develop a cure for the sickness that was already engulfing their minds and bodies. He told them that as much as it grieved him, he could not simply take them back to the kingdom – for his kingdom, like the island, was perfect and held no place for a virus-infested couple like themselves.

Time went by. The pair noticed they were getting worse. They had thoughts and desires they had never felt before. Their bodies no longer seemed to be under their own control, and the things they knew they should do, they did not. Instead their actions were mean-spirited and nasty; it was almost as if they were no longer the same two people they had been during those earlier, care-free days on the island. Worse still, their home was no longer perfect and became infested with weeds, biting insects, and of course snakes. As the years went by, they had children, and their children had children, and their wonder and awe of the Great King was replaced by doubts and an inability to understand why the King was so Great in the first place. You see, the couple’s virus had also spread to their offspring, and never knowing the Great King personally themselves, they were worse than their parents in both thought and deed. That's the funny thing about a virus - eventually you get used to the symptoms and learn to live with it.

From time to time the Great King would send a messenger to the island, offering support and a reminder that the cure was being made. In the meantime he sent laws for the inhabitants of the island to live by to prevent the evil thoughts and actions that resulted from the viral infection from getting completely out of hand. Sometimes this helped, as sometimes the growing population of the island would heed the message that was sent to them from the Great King. At other times it only served to anger them, and they mercilessly beat a few of the messengers and even murdered some of them in cold blood. Things on the island steadily grew worse and the descendents of the couple eventually formed clans and began fighting against each other. They built temples to the gods of the cave and invented the alphabet.

Finally, the Great King decided to send his son to the island. If the people would not listen to his messengers, surely they would respect his only son. It seemed like a good idea, and for a few days it worked. The son explained what the Great King was doing, and offered encouragement to the citizens of the island and helped them with the symptoms of their virus. But in the end, most of the people did not want to listen, as they no longer felt obligated to the Great King or his rule over them. One morning they seized the son, and violently murdered him on one of the hills overlooking the island.

But something happened on that day, something mysterious and very wonderful at the same time. The key to the only cure for the wretched virus was carried within the blood of the son, and had been all along. Long forgotten letters from the Great King had already explained this to the people and when they re-read them, they went back out to the rugged hill to retrieve his body. But it was no longer there - he was gone. Sadly they returned to the city, disheartened when they realized their only chance for a cure had evaded them. Most of the people returned to whatever they were doing. Phrases like 'no sense worrying over spilled milk' and 'it is what it is' pervaded their thoughts throughout the island on that bitter day. They comforted themselves by assembling a printing press and discovering gunpowder.

But some of the people knew and recalled the words from the mistreated messengers sent by the Great King in the past, and those who listened to the son while he was with them began to see things in a different light. The king had developed a cure all along, and he had been trying to let them know from the beginning. They began to understand why the son came to their island in the first place, and the price he had paid for their cure from the virus that had been passed down through their generations since its inception in the cave so very long before. The key was simply letting go and accepting the cure, and so they did. They began to teach others on the island, and to explain to them the plan the Great King had in place. Some listened and were cured; others rejected the idea as too far-fetched to believe in. Those who rejected the cure went back to their old ways while the virus grew worse and their actions became even more sordid as they gave in to the caustic throes of the disease. In turn, they manufactured fluoride toothpaste and harnessed the power of the atom.

One day the Great King returned. It was most unexpected, although he had promised from the very beginning that he would do so. Knowing that his return meant a cure for the virus, the entire population of the island met him on the beach. They watched as he loaded some of the people on his ship in preparation of carrying them back to his kingdom. They waited their turn for the mystical cure for the disease that would enable them to join those already on the boat for the return trip to a place called home. Sadly the Great King explained to them that the cure had been as he had promised; through the blood of his son. There was no other cure, and it was too late to get the only cure as the time for it had already passed them by. The Great King had returned to destroy the island and rebuild it back into what it was originally meant to be.

The people on the island moaned in anguish as they watched the boat pull away; a familiar looking young captain at the helm, as a purifying fire began to fall from the sky.

"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;" Hebrews 2:3

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