Long, long ago in a time that spans generations, there was a small Kingdom of people who discovered a wonderful purpose.  The purpose was so good and so enriching that the small Kingdom began to buzz with excitement and energy.  The residents of the kingdom began to find great joy.  Life began to take on a new focus for many of them.  They started to love each other in greater ways and share all that they had with the poor.  The purpose they found was intoxicating and more and more people began to align with the purpose.  People in neighboring kingdoms began to hear about the wonderful new purpose and joined them in following and rejoicing in it.

Eventually, some the of the kingdom’s leaders got nervous about the vast number of people who were joining into allegiance with the purpose.  It wasn’t that they disagreed, they just felt that there certainly needed to be some boundaries and limits so that the people didn’t get carried away.  They began to implement rules about how to follow the purpose and set an acceptable standard as to how the purpose could be properly honored.  To manage the vastness of their task they made the decision to build walls around their kingdom so that they could communicate more effectively and verify the uniformity of the way they honor the purpose.

As time passed, other kingdoms built walls as well to secure their individual responses to the purpose.  They chose the proper attire for celebration days, the appropriate music, and each chose to highlight different aspects of the purpose.  Every so often the kingdoms would come together to celebrate their common enjoyment of the purpose.  Unfortunately, those celebrations faded over the years and they began to find more disagreement than agreement in how each saw the purpose.

Generations passed and many kingdoms built walls.  Rules and ordinances continued to be added to each kingdom as they discussed various aspects of the original purpose.  However, the more walls that were built, the less the kingdoms favored one another.  They each began to meet only with kingdoms that favored them and eventually became hostile to kingdoms that did not.

As this metamorphosis took place over the generations, the joy and the passion of the original purpose began to die.  The kingdoms were worried when people began to move outside of the walls and show less and less enthusiasm for the original purpose.  To prevent this exodus, the leaders decided to suggest to people that if they moved away from the walls of the kingdom and the purpose then they may face consequences that could affect their futures.  The leaders began to demand adherence and used guilt and shame to keep people within the walls of the kingdoms.

The harder they worked the more they seemed to forget what the original purpose was about.  They looked less and less like their ancestors who first discovered the purpose.  The people who had moved outside the walls of the kingdoms would hear stories from time to time about the original purpose, but found them hard to believe based on the function of the kingdoms inside the walls.  Sadly, more and more people became disillusioned with the self -focused kingdoms and throughout the land kingdoms became deserted.   People lived in communities all around the walls of these kingdoms, but very few had any desire to enter the walls that once proclaimed the original purpose.

Part II

After years of being considered inconsequential by those living outside the walls of each of the kingdoms, something wonderful began to happen.  Elders and leaders in an effort to revive their kingdoms began to dust off the writings of the original purpose.  Their hope was that they would find ammunition to use against those who had left the kingdoms and in the same vein find justification for themselves.  To their surprise they found the things that it talked about were a far cry from what they assumed it would say.

As the leaders began to read the words written centuries before a new understanding began to unveil itself.  Instead of seeing what they had hoped, their eyes were opened to ideals that they had missed and overlooked for years.  It was as if they were being guided by an unseen force and led gracefully to a renewed way of understanding.  As they read they were consumed with the beauty of the words.  The wisdom was staggering and the truths unwavering.

Before very long they found themselves enraptured with the fresh expressions of love that they were discovering.  The reality of it all led to hours of tears and heart break for what they had missed.  Even more grief built up as they began to realize what they had deprived their kingdoms of knowing.  Each of these leaders were motivated to make amends and restore the original purpose to its place of honor.  The challenge that they faced was an enormous one.  How could they undo all the damage that their arrogance and need for power had caused?  Why should anyone outside of the gates listen to them?  What credibility could they offer?

As they pondered these questions, the same unseen guide that had opened their eyes to the words of the purpose, began to change the way they approached people in everyday life.  There was a genuine affection for their fellow kingdom dwellers.  This affection even extended to those who were outside of the gates.  It was as if they were seeing people for the first time.  They immediately commissioned workers to create huge open gates in the ancient walls so that people could reenter the kingdoms easily.  They put out banners celebrating the original purpose that were festive and attractive.  It was if a new light was shining on and from the old kingdoms.

Little by little the people who lived outside of the kingdom walls began to wander back inside.  It was more out of curiosity at first, but once they were in they experienced a hospitality that was infectious.  The sense of something bigger than themselves was overwhelming.  Eventually many of them began to stay and enjoy the renewed understanding of the original purpose.  They too found joy in a movement that seemed to give more than it took.  Throughout the once desolate kingdom rang out the voices of families and children.   Laughter and singing were regular sounds.  Joyful service to one another and to others became a way of life for those who rediscovered the power of the original purpose.

From that time on the gates remained open and a grace filled people reveled in the joy that they had rediscovered.  The curse of a lost purpose had ended and they found that they could now live abundantly forever more.