I like John Bunyan's take on what it means to take the kingdom by force (ref. Matthew 11:12) in Part II of Pilgrim's Progress.
The scene is Christiana has reached the Wicket Gate (which represents Christ), knocked and was ushered in with fanfare and joy. Her companion, the young maiden named Mercy, is still outside the Gate and full of doubt about her reception since, unlike Christiana, she lacks a direct invitation from the King.
"Now Mercy began to be very impatient, and each minute was as long to her as an hour; wherefore she prevented Christiana from a fuller interceding for her, by knocking at the gate herself. And she knocked then so loud that she made Christiana to start. Then said the keeper of the gate, Who is there? And Christiana said, It is my friend.
So he opened the gate, and looked out, but Mercy was fallen down without in a swoon, for she fainted, and was afraid that no gate should be opened to her.
Then he took her by the hand, and said, Damsel, I bid thee arise.
Mercy: I am come for that unto which I was never invited, as my friend Christiana was. Hers was from the King, and mine was but from her. Wherefore I fear I presume.
Keep: Did she desire thee to come with her to this place?
Mercy: Yes; and, as my Lord sees, I am come. And if there is any grace and forgiveness of sins to spare, I beseech that thy poor handmaid may be a partaker thereof.
Then he took her again by the hand, and led her gently in, and said, I pray for all them that believe on me, by what means soever they come unto me.
So he left them awhile in a summer parlor below, where they entered into talk by themselves; and thus Christiana began. O how glad am I that we are got in hither.
Mercy: So you well may; but I, of all, have cause to leap for joy.
Christiana: I thought one time, as I stood at the gate, because I had knocked and none did answer, that all our labor had been lost, especially when that ugly cur made such a heavy barking against us.
Mercy: But my worst fear was after I saw that you was taken into his favor, and that I was left behind. And afraid I was to knock any more; but when I looked up to what was written over the gate, I took courage. I also thought that I must either knock again, or die; so I knocked, but I cannot tell how, for my spirit now struggled between life and death.
Christiana: Can you not tell how you knocked? I am sure your knocks were so earnest that the very sound of them made me start; I thought I never heard such knocking in all my life; I thought you would come in by a violent hand, or take the kingdom by storm. Matt. 11:12.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
The temps broke into the 70s this weekend so we enjoyed some of the nearby Rocky Mountain scenery. After an easy hike around the lake we got to the real reason for the expedition--dinner at The Oaks. Nestled along the bank of the Ogden River, this is a delightful place for a casual dinner and dessert.