Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. discusses the myth of Scheherazade, and the story of a loving God who enhances the lives of those who please Him.
Let me tell you about a fascinating myth from Ancient Eastern literature. There was an insanely enraged King in Central Asia, around the 9th century AD, named King Shahryār. King Shahryār hated women because the first woman he married was unfaithful to him every time he left the royal city. To dissuade his anger, he had her put to death. He then married a new woman every day, immediately sentencing her to death, and executing her shortly thereafter.
All the single women in the kingdom were overwhelmed with fear and terror, because each of them felt their day was soon to come. But there was one young lady, the daughter of a Chief Executive Officer; her name was Scheherazade. Scheherazade felt that she had a strategy that would not only save her life, but would also save the lives of all the rest of the women in the kingdom. But in order to execute her strategy, she would have to marry the King. She begged her father to permit her to do so, and finally her father, feeling that she was a creative young lady, consented to the marriage.
After the wedding, everyone was depressed about what they knew would happen next. But to their amazement, the King and Scheherazade went into the chamber, came out the next day, and Scheherazade was still alive! As a matter of fact, the following day, and the day after that, and the day after that she was still alive.
The people were overjoyed, but they still had questions about Scheherazade’s survival. It was then discovered that on their wedding night, she began to tell the King a fascinating story. And just at the most dramatic moment of the story, she said, “I can’t go any further tonight. I’ll finish the story tomorrow night.”
The King was enthralled. He was so interested in the next part of the story that he allowed her to live another day. Again, when she came to the end of the story, she immediately started another story, and again, paused at the most dramatic moment. So she lived on, night after night, until the King abandoned his plan, and ended the destruction of the women of the Kingdom. He enjoyed a lifetime full of stories, such as “Alibaba” and “Aladdin.” Those stories came to be collectively known as “The 1001 Arabian Nights Entertainment.”
Scheherazade preserved the lives of others. She was allowed to live because she created and fulfilled a King’s positive anticipation. She stimulated and satisfied all expectations, and was allowed to remain Queen because she touched a very special place where the goals and aspirations of a King resided.
CHRIST, OUR REDEEMER
This story bears striking resemblance to the story of man’s redemption. The first unfaithful wife reminds us of Adam and Eve, who, rather than trust and be faithful to God who provided everything for them, chose to trust and obey the devil. Because of this, they were at odds with God, and the disease of sin became embedded in their natures, and in the natures of all their descendants.
But along came a man called Jesus, who like Scheherazade, had the capacity to initiate a strategy that would result in His victory over sin and over death, victory not only for Himself, but also for all who would believe in Him. God the Son came to earth to reverse the effects of sin. He loves you too much to allow you to be destroyed. If you give God something to look forward to, God will keep you alive.
God loves a good story and he’s writing a good story about you.
SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Genesis 3, Matthew 28, Romans 8:28, Proverbs 16:7, Psalm 121:7.