A University Parable: The King and the Sword of Learning

by John Henry

John is the director of the Student Mobilization Centre for the University of the Nations, Youth With A Mission.

A long time ago, in a land far away, a great king had a dream. His dream was that all the world’s peoples, though very different and from many places, would one-day become a global community of the king’s people.

\The king’s dream was that his people would bring unique gifts and stories to a great celebration. The plan was good. He said, “Go announce this good news and teach all the peoples”.

The king’s light was with those who committed to learn in community and serve their world.

They traveled across great deserts, lands, and seas. They settled in communities at the edge of conflict, in Edessa (modern day Iraq and Turkey) and Iona (Scotland). They dug wells for fresh water and they lived in the face of danger and war.

“No gates, no lies, no evil powers will prevail against you”, he told them.

These communities were the king’s joy, for they shared the king’s dream to teach all peoples. As time passed the communities grew to reflect more and more the character of the king.

They wrote hymns and created libraries for their stories in preparation for the king’s dream celebration. Wells of water sustained them as they lived, worked, and learned in community, telling of the king’s story, a light to every people.

The king assigned guardians to help the people, but they turned against the king. These very old and powerful teachers chose to teach lies. They planned to destroy the king’s dream and extinguish the light. They taught that power, possessions, and position were to be desired more than the call to know the king.

These guardians arrested, expelled, and killed the king’s servants. Wells of water were stopped up. Many listened to the lies and gave up the beauty of righteousness to gain power. So the light became darkness and the king’s dream was all but lost.

In the land of the West, the Roman powers argued and controlled the dream, dividing words and peoples. They expelled those in the East and called their teachers heretics. Unprotected, henchmen poured out the blood of scholars and saints of the East – and they were forgotten.

The sword of learning had been broken. The king’s dream was nearly lost. In the West, some fought with that broken sword to begin again to light the fire of the king’s dream. They began to dig new wells in Paris, Bologna, Oxford, and Cambridge.

Again the guardian powers brought war and pain. The broken sword was taken up in the struggle. Many lost homes and families. Still, they longed for the king’s dream for all peoples. A few reformers knew the king and the king called them to rebuild.

A new Light spanned across Europe to England, Sweden, Hungary, and across the Atlantic to the New World Colonies of America and new wells were dug. Too many people listened to the guardian teachers.

They told lies to men and women about their identity, learning, community, family, and faith. They believed the lies, wounding the spirits of generations on every continent, and the guardians became more powerful than ever.

The guardians are giants in the land teaching lies, enforcing what is taught and what is to be known. The guardians divided the king’s people. It taught the world to love created things more than the Creator.

These giants stand at the high places, declaring, “I will teach the nations.” How could the king’s dream be fulfilled?

Then, when all hope seemed lost, a few small and unlikely volunteers came forward. They said, “Here am I” and the king gave them the commission: “Now, the mystery hidden for ages is to be made known.” They began to form new communities at the edge of the conflict.

They began to dig new wells. These courageous ones have also come to unstop old wells. They are learning how to portray the king’s story for every people. They are unstopping wells and restoring ancient ruins where promises were made to teach the nations.

Today the king’s dream is being restored. Families are being restored. They are re-forging the sword of learning that was broken long ago.

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