Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dominion and Dragons - Ye Olde Essay Contest Entry

This entry to the Vision Forum essay contest is from Jordan (age 15) and is titled "Dominion and Dragons".

My father diligently trained me in many things, but most especially in sword fighting and taking dominion.

“I am raising you differently from this world for a reason. You must learn to take dominion,” he would often say. “Find the area where you can do the most good for Christ’s Kingdom. When you have found it, put your whole heart into it. And remember, Christ has assured the victory!”

When I came of age, my family commissioned me for battle. I was given a full suit of armor and a sword.

“Remember,” my father said, as he presented me with the sword, “to always use this weapon on the side of righteousness. Never use this sword to suppress the truth or oppress the poor and widowed. God sees all, my son, and one day He will judge you.”

Several years before, someone let a dragon into the village. It began as a small, harmless-looking animal, but appearances were deceiving. The dragon rapidly grew into an evil, fire-breathing, tyrannical monster. A few of the villagers were concerned about the dragon’s presence, but most did not seem to care. One fact was certain, however: no one was willing to fight the dragon. In fact, several influential knights, who could have driven the dragon from the village, condoned or supported it. One even went so far as to say, “The dragon is harmless. We can be knights and have a dragon in our midst, as long as we control it.”

The only problem being, of course, that a dragon cannot be controlled.

The villagers who were inclined to fight the beast were silenced by these comments coming from their leaders. The dragon was allowed to continue destroying homes and farms. Whenever another house was burned to cinders, the villagers would either pretend nothing had happened or blame it on anything-- except the dragon.

My father had told me of this dragon. “One day, God will use a faithful warrior to slay this beast.”

This saying from my father was in my mind as I walked through the town. I halted in the village square.

“People of this village, listen!” I shouted above the tumult of the market. “We must band together and slay this dragon!”

“I like this dragon! And who are you to be telling me what to do?” a young fool scoffed.

“Get out of here!” demanded a shopkeeper, waving a stick threateningly.

“I speak the truth! The dragon will destroy your families!”

I have not found out who threw the first pebble, but it is certain that the crowd began to pelt me with them. I turned and ran, hotly pursued by the villagers’ rocks.

“Foolish peasants,” I muttered, when I was safely outside the village. “I should leave them to be justly devoured by that dragon. They do not merit any help from me.”

As I said this, some of my father’s sayings flooded into my mind.

“Son, we did not deserve Christ’s sacrifice for us. We must reach out to those whom we might consider undeserving.”

“We should not let our notions towards someone bar us from helping them.”

I knelt as tears flooded into my hands.

“Father in heaven,” I prayed, “give to me the courage to forgive those people in yonder village, even as Thou hast forgiven me. Amen.”

With this prayer, I felt a sense of peace wash over my troubled soul.

“Come and help us,” pleaded a princess dressed in blue.

“You must fight this dragon! If you do not, we will die,” said a regal-looking figure with a crown.

I awoke with a start.

“Lord, do you want me to do battle against this beast? He is fierce, and I am neither strong, nor rich, nor experienced.”

“My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect through weakness,” came into my mind. I donned my helmet, and went to meet the dragon.

“Prepare thyself to die!” I shouted into the dragon’s lair. “The Lord Sabaoth has sent me for the express purpose to kill thee!”

“Fool!” the dragon spat contemptuously. “I have killed many a better knight than you.”

“If I die,” I proclaimed, “be assured that another more powerful than I will arise and destroy you.”

He rushed out of his lair and charged at me. His sharp talons cleaved downward to cut me in pieces, but my sword blocked them. He let out a hideous roar, and a jet of fire blazed from his mouth. I ducked as the flames flew past my head. From my kneeling position, I lunged at the dragon’s chest, but his bony scales guarded him from my thrust.

His claws slashed at me again.

We both thrust and sliced at each other, but with no clear result. At last, I saw an opening in his defense. I set my teeth and thrust at his chest. When I had attempted this before, his scales had protected him, but now my sword seemed sharper. Is it not odd? Swords usually dull with usage. The scales offered no resistance, and my sword penetrated. The beast let out a hideous roar, and flames came again from its mouth, but it was mortally wounded. The dragon sank down on the grass and staggered near a lake, but finally became still. I took off my helmet, jabbed my sword into the earth, and poured out a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord of Hosts, who had seen fit to use me to advance His kingdom by killing this beast.

When I had finished, I looked up to see two people in front of me. One looked like a king. He was a nobleman not only in attire, but also in bearing and in manner. His daughter (or so I presumed she was) had clearly taken after her father in this regard. They looked vaguely familiar. Finally, it burst upon my memory. They were the people I had seen in my dream, pleading for someone to slay the dragon. The king at length broke the silence.

“For many years I have watched this dragon. I fought against him several times, but to no avail. Now may the Lord of Hosts be praised in that He has raised up a deliverer.” He drew his regal sword.

“Now,” he said, “by the authority given me by the Lord God, I admit you into the Order of the Knights of Divine Providence. May you teach men to observe all that we have been commanded in Holy Scripture.”

As we watched, the river bank crumbled under the prodigious weight, and the dragon plunged into the lake.

Here my tale ends. I tell it with reserve, for I would not appear to be boasting of my own exploits. There was no earthly means by which I could have prevailed. To God alone be all the glory for this victory! And to thee, dear reader, I address a word before I close. May this story of how God used a young knight to slay a terrible dragon inspire you to fight against the powers of evil. God is not concerned with our results, only that we obey him faithfully.

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