I caught sight of The slipper and the rose on television one Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago. The Prince and Cinderella were in love. It was the stuff of dreams: romantic, sentimental, even tacky, but uncomfortably true to lifes experience in its pain and in its glory. The rich prince and the poor girl: it wasnt going to be allowed to work. A political marriage was sought to cement two precarious allies: nationalism rather than patriotism or any strange notions of loyalty to love, and expediency pushing the expenditure of love beyond a price that could be paid or so it seemed. The messenger was on a mission. Cinderella must leave for voluntary exile, a self-imposed redundancy. There would be a dowry. She must seek a new love. Investing in the truth would ruin the nation. She listened. Heartbroken, she absorbed the pain and accepted a blame that was not hers. Like the taxpayer, she had no choice. Kindly and with regret, the messenger said, "In life, love cant always find a way".
Suddenly, I felt that there was something wrong. I kept repeating to myself, "Love cant always find a way" and it jarred against all I believe to be true. Is this really the case? Is there no hope? Must we always have to swim with a tide that takes us to waters that drown? Is there always inevitability about the strength of the crowd that should trample underfoot and nail to the cross?
The fairy godmother was wonderfully funny. Why cant she leave them alone without something going wrong? Ive read this story before, I thought! Then she wands into action. The result is predictable and all is well in the end. Love does find a way or is that a contradiction of the strength of the crowd?
And it is here that I part company with the spirit of the downturn. There is no fairy godmother in my life, but I have found someone, who will pay the price of love, no matter how much the price is, and I hope you will find that someone too. It is a mystery, not magic. It is a victory against the tide. It is a love that finds a way. It is at the centre of all I believe to be true. It is a marriage with God at the heart of my love. It makes the Cross the glory in my hope for the world.
And the story? It is my story and your story. It is the Easter story.
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