Sightings of the King

kingdomScarboy has a lot to learn when he first escapes the dangers of the Enchanted City for the healing lands of Great Park. Love and acceptance are foreign concepts. He is unfamiliar with the games they play – unfamiliar with games, actually. He is slow in adjusting to his new name. In Great Park, they call him Hero.

Sighting day is a particular frustration for Hero. Children throughout Great Park gather and spend the entire day searching for the King; he’s a playful king. It seems to Hero that other children sight the King with ease. Once they make a sighting, they join the King and the other kids in the field to spend the afternoon playing. But Hero wasn’t good at sighting the King, which made the game more discouraging than enjoyable.

As he searched, “Hero had only seen a beggar or a woodcutter or a gardener. Never a king.”

But over time, Hero improves. He begins to understand that the King is often there in disguise. In fact, the King was there all along. Hero had seen the beggar and the woodcutter and the gardener who was, of course, the King.

The story continues as Hero learns the ways of Great Park and its King, while growing into his own self and embracing his new name. When trouble comes to Great Park, Hero is called upon to return to the Enchanted City to work for the resistance against the evil Enchanter, the ruthless ruler of the city. Upon arrival to the resistance headquarters, Hero is given his assignment: to chronicle sightings of the King.

Throughout the city there is destruction, and the resistance is met with violence. But there are places where the King shows up – bringing light, setting captives free, restoring bodies, and subverting the authority of the Enchanter. Hero’s job is to find those places where the King shows up and to report back to headquarters, chronicling the stories – strengthening their hope and resolve amidst the bleakness of the Enchanted City.*

Adding to the Beauty – and the journey it is taking us on – feels a bit like this. In a world marked by bleakness and destruction, we are in search for places where the light breaks through the darkness, where injustice is thwarted, where peace is pursued, where captives are set free, where the existing structures are resisted by love and forgiveness and compassion, where the King shows up and trails of beauty and hope are left in his wake. Like Hero, we intend to find these places and chronicle the stories.

Yes, it feels a bit like that.

But if I’m completely honest, I often feel more like Scarboy, still adjusting to this new name. While everyone around me sees God working so clearly I see merely a sunny day or a chance encounter. When others rejoice at the feeding of a child or the rescuing of a woman from the sex trade, I see the thousands who die today because they were not fed or the 27 million still enslaved.

So while we hope to document the stories – those sightings of the King – for our community, this trip is more for me than it is for you. Before I report anything back to you, I need to see for myself that God is not just good in the backyards of Minnetonka, where marshmallows roast over hot bonfires and children gleefully scramble up trees while soups heat on the stoves inside. If God is good, then God must also be good in the red light areas and refugee camps, amidst hunger and holocausts. I’m holding onto hope that this is true. And this journey is in part a chance to search for the King. Hopefully, like Scarboy, I’ll find the King where I least expect him.

*Summarized from the children’s stories, Tales of the Kingdom and Tales of the Resistance, by David and Karen Mains.

photo credit: Brett Kiger via photopin cc


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