The Seed of Salvation

"I want to be free." She moaned. "Please," she whispered, "if you are willing, you can set me free."

"I am willing." She sensed a glimpse of his eyes twinkling in a gracious little smile. "Be free."

"If this is the time," she added shyly, insecure, hardly daring to believe.

"This is the day of salvation." His face beamed at her through the mist, she thought, radiant with benevolence.

"Then do it. Please, do it now." She held up her hands, as high as she could, and stood shivering, painfully aware of the shackles surrounding her, constricting her, hemming in, narrowing down her life on every side.

"Not by power or might, but by my spirit," the breeze was whispering in her mind. "Ask, and it shall be given."

She saw him lift his mighty sword with triumphant joy shining from his face and braced herself for the long-awaited stroke.

Yet all he did was gently, firmly place his hand upon her shoulder. The layer of chains, wound around her body coil upon coil, broke and crumbled to pieces under the relentless presence of his fingers, partly dissolving into powder already while they were falling to the ground. She cast a quick glance at the snapped, corroding pieces of powerless metal strewn at the foot of the solid rock she was standing on, saw the wind starting to drive away the ashes. Drawing a deep breath, then exhaling just as deeply, she stretched her shackled hands towards her Lover. In immediate answer he touched the metal and instantly the lock sprang open. A drop of blood that had fallen from his wrist upon hers was lingering like a costly ointment on her bruised skin, spreading its moisture while he proceeded to her other arm to perform the same act of deliverance. As soon as the chain had sprung open, in a feverish rush she held out her feet, her imagination almost anticipating his next move.

"Wait," he said gently. "Let me do it my way."

His hair brushing her calf, he bent down and breathed on her sore, festering right ankle. The heavy iron ring and clinking chains fled from the fragrance of his mouth like creatures of the night scurrying away from a flaming torch, crumbling to dust blown away like smoke. His hands softly stroked the bluish, blood-encrusted area now exposed before he bent over her left foot. She saw a tear fall from his eye onto the shackles, its acid consuming them completely within a few seconds. The soft, cool wetness caressed her skin like healing balm.

Before she could collect herself sufficiently to get up from where she was now half-sitting, half-lying, she was aware of him placing her feet into a bowl and gently washing them with his bare hands instead of a sponge. Then he lifted them into his lap to dry them with his garment before tenderly spreading a sweet-smelling, costly balm on the wounds, which he proceeded to apply on her wrists and arms as well. Then he paused.

"Please cover my whole body with your balm," she whispered longingly.

A radiant, mischievous, irresistible smile lit up his face for an instant, then with a mighty stride and all-encompassing sweep of his mantle he was over her, placing himself in the veiled fullness of his dimmed glory on top of her, to her left, to her right, under her, encompassing her completely with his own body, with the crimson cloak woven of his own costly blood.

Gasping with surprise, the arousal of love swelling within her, she leaned closer into his nearness, melting into him, trying to hold on to this moment forever, to keep it never to fade as far too soon it was slipping from her again.

"Has this taken place already?" she asked, suddenly timid, forlorn, half-wondering, half-doubting, standing naked, shivering on a barren hillside in the afterglow of a love not yet to be consummated. "Does it mean I am free now?" – a thought preposterous, almost scary to take for real, for what if she was mistaken? – "Or is this still in the future?"

Wordlessly his hands moved towards her chest. Looking down, she saw him attach a red ribbon with a seal displaying a crimson and golden pattern in a definite gesture of ownership, promise.

"His property," she murmured. "Set apart, not to be touched by anyone else any more. He will come to redeem it, arrive to retrieve it. Whenever He will – the red ribbon speaks of completion, salvation is already finished.

Will you tell me," she ventured once more after a moment, "if this really has happened just now, if indeed I am free now?"

Her hand held itself out as if drawn by unspoken bidding. His fingers closed over hers, lingering for a moment, and as they drew back, her palm was holding a mass of golden coins.

"So I can go and buy salvation – buy it for free, for nothing, as we live it out bit by bit, day by day, decision by decision, venture upon venture in my everyday setting? The seed of salvation, planted as a guarantee like the baby in the manger."

A butterfly appeared before her, epitome of freedom, and she followed it with her eyes, fascinated, until she felt her Lover place his mighty sword in her hands. "I am with you. I am mighty to save." He winked at her. "Slay the dragon fear."

Christmas 2015