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The People of the Cave…a Parable

Scott on April 9, 2007 at 4:31 pm

The church that John and I attend with our families held its Easter service outside at a local high school stadium this year. As part of the service, those in attendance listened to a couple different narrative parables/allegories that focused on different aspects of the Christian experience and the spiritual journey that we all find ourselves on. One of the stories was based on an old poem by Myra Welch called The Touch of the Master’s Hand. I posted that story on Good Friday.

I promised several people who attended the Easter service that I would post the other story as well. This one is called The People of the Cave. It was written by Max Lucado, though the version I created for the service and which I am posting here has gone through various minor changes and revisions to attempt to make it flow more smoothly.

After you finish reading this story, ask yourself this question: Which type of cave person are you?

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The People of the Cave
(Adapted from a story by Max Lucado)

LONG AGO, or maybe not so long ago, there was a tribe who lived in a dark, cold cavern. The cave dwellers would huddle together and cry against the chill. Loud and long they wailed. It was all they did because it was all they knew to do. The sounds in the cave were mournful but the people didn’t know it, for they had never known the joy of life.

But then, one day, they heard a different voice. “I have heard your cries,” it announced, the words echoing through the cave. “I have felt your chill and seen your darkness. I have come to help.”

The cave people grew quiet. They had never heard this voice. The message of hope sounded strange to their ears. “How can we know you have come to help?” asked one of the tribe.

Out from the shadows stepped a figure they had never seen before. “Trust me,” he answered. “I have what you need.”

The cave people peered through the darkness at the stranger. He was stacking something, then stooping and stacking more.

“What are you doing?” one cried, nervous. The stranger didn’t answer.

“What are you making?” another shouted even louder. Still no response.

“Tell us!” demanded a third.

The visitor stood and spoke in the direction of the voices. “I have what you need.” With that he turned to the pile at his feet and lit it. Wood ignited, flames erupted, and light filled the cavern.

The cave people turned away in fear. “Put it out!” they cried. “It hurts to see it.”

“Light always hurts before it helps,” he answered. “Step closer. The pain will soon pass.”

“Not I,” declared a voice.

“Nor I,” agreed a second.

“Only a fool would risk exposing his eyes to such light,” declared a third.

The stranger stood next to the fire. “Would you prefer the darkness? Would you prefer the cold? Don’t rely on your fears. Look to the light and take a step of faith.”

For a long time no one spoke. The people hovered in groups covering their eyes. The stranger stood next to the fire. “It’s warm here. Come, join me.” he invited.

“He’s right,” one from behind him announced. “It is warmer.”

The stranger turned and saw a figure slowly stepping toward the fire. “I can open my eyes now,” she proclaimed. “I can see.”

“Come closer,” invited the fire builder.

She did. Stepping into the ring of light she exclaimed, “It’s so warm!” She extended her hands and sighed as the chill began to pass.

“Come, everyone! Feel the warmth,” she invited.

“Silence, woman!” cried one of the cave dwellers. “Dare you lead us into your foolishness? Leave us and take your light with you.”

She turned to the stranger. “Why won’t they come?” she asked.

The stranger answered sadly, “They choose the chill, for though it is cold, it’s what they know. They’d rather be cold than have to change.”

“And live in the dark?” she asked.

“And live in the dark,” replied the stranger.

The now-warm woman stood silent, looking first into the darkness and then at the man in the light.

“Will you leave the fire?” he asked.

She paused, and then answered, “I cannot. I cannot bear the cold.” Then she spoke again. “But nor can I bear the thought of my people in darkness.”

“You don’t have to,” he responded. Reaching into the fire and removing a stick, he held it out to the woman. “Carry this to your people. Tell them the light is here, and the light is warm. Tell them the light is for all who desire it.”

And so she took the small flame and stepped into the shadows.

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Category: Religion & Faith |

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