Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Secret of our Strength

   There is nothing more destructive for a household than a strongman who has lost his vision. From personal experience, I have witnessed this truth in all its desperate agony. I have also experienced the rediscovery of vision and rebuilding of strength that comes through the restorative beauty of a Christ-like family.
   While I’m happy to tell you my own story over a hot drink; in this article, I wish to explore the journey of another strongman and his lost vision. This strongman is the church I love.

Samson's Story
   A few thousand years ago, a strongman was born. His parents were told he would be a deliverer of God’s people. He was to be set aside at birth, consecrated as special to God. As one who had taken the Nazerite vow, he was not to cut his hair, ever. His parents named him Samson.
   Samson was strong. He ripped gates off their hinges—not garden gates from a picket fence but city gates ripped up with the supporting posts still attached. He killed a thousand men with a piece of bone and a lion with his bare hands. His strength became the stuff of legend and men made sport of trying to defeat him, always to their detriment. Because of his fame, it didn’t take long for him to become full of pride. Samson lost his vision long before his eyes were gouged out.
   Samson started toying with evil. He ate honey scooped from within a lion carcass (a Nazerite was not to touch a corpse), fed some to his parents, then spun the occasion into a riddle to trick 30 men, which caused them to want him dead and him to kill 30 other men. He tortured 300 foxes, tying them in pairs by their tails and fixing lit torches to each pair of tails before releasing them in grain fields of his enemies.
   Like many a fallen strongman, Samson had a weakness for the ladies. He married a woman his parents disapproved of, slept with a prostitute and shacked up with another beautiful woman (Not all at once, mind you!).  The final woman, the beautiful Delilah, constantly tried to discover the secret of his strength. She had been promised 1100 pieces of silver for the secret by men who wished to stop Samson and the Israelites he represented.
   Samson lied to Delilah many times. Finally, wearied to the point of death by her nagging, Samson revealed that the secret to his strength was his hair. In doing so, he didn’t only ask for a haircut but recommended a shave. “I was dedicated to God as a Nazerite from birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as anyone else” (Judges 16:17). The next time he had a nap, Delilah shaved his head and sold him out.
   Samson had never been without his strength. He didn’t know what it was like to be normal. When he woke and was set upon by an overwhelming group of men, he punched and kicked and fought like every other time but to no avail. He was swallowed up in the brutality of the hoard.
   His captors jabbed a hot poker in his eyes and threw him in prison. Occasionally they would bring him out for entertainment. “Step right up! Take your best shot at the legendary strongman, Samson!” The laugher was inevitable as Samson swatted at blows after they made contact. “Body blow! Head shot! Come on, Samson, defend yourself!”
   Time passed. His hair grew. Samson wondered, “Would God still honour the vow even after I have treated it with such disdain?” Another party. Another call for Samson the clown. After being mocked, punched and tired out, Samson said, “Place my hands against the pillars that hold up the temple. I want to rest against them” (Judges 16:26). Once his hands were in place, Samson prayed and pushed.    And the strongman, who had lost his vision, killed himself along with every man, woman and child in the house of Dagon that day.
   An oft-quoted proverb states, “Without vision, people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). This was certainly true with Samson. One strongman without vision and thousands perished. During his lifetime, he wrecked havoc in numerous random attacks before finally, like a dragon who knows his time is short, he tore the house down. All of this would have been very different if Samson had embraced his vow and lived true to the calling placed on his life from birth.

A New View
   I recently saw something familiar from a new perspective. This unique vantage point allowed me a new view an old thing, as if seeing it again for the first time. In the town where I serve as a state high school chaplain, I have been honoured to participate in numerous church services. In the last three months of 2014, I preached at an ecumenical youth program, a Baptist church, a Lutheran church, a children’s “Messy Church” program, a Uniting church, an Anglican church and a church in a pub. I worshipped in the style of high church, low church, traditional church, contemporary church, kids church, youth church and pub church!
   In each church I met generous, loving, godly people. Every service presented heart-felt worship to God, community for His people and a listening ear to me as I spoke about chaplaincy and Jesus’ heart for each of us.
   But, I noticed something missing. Or, more accurately, I missed something in each setting—something that, for me, is integral and meaningful in church attendance. What I missed is something deeply embedded in my experience of worship, due to my Seventh-day Adventist upbringing, something present weekly in my denominational tradition.
   I missed the time of small-group discussion in which the Bible is opened, read, studied and prayed over. I missed the circle of believers listening to each other’s needs and praying together. In short, I missed Sabbath school.
   Even though I had attended Sabbath school the previous day at my own church, I missed it each Sunday because I felt a desire to know each new group of believers more fully. For me, church is about connecting to each other as well as connecting to God. I felt the need for Sabbath school because I am accustomed to knowing those to whom I will preach, even if only in a quick fashion on the day. Instead, in nearly every situation, I drove into an empty car park, walked into an empty church, watched both fill up, then preached a few minutes later. It was only after the service that I met people, and then in a casual social manner rather than a spiritually nurturing time of sharing.
   The people at each church seemed to know each other well, so there must be more going on than just the quick worship service on Sunday. What I realised, more than anything, is that I love Sabbath school and am blessed by the group togetherness it provides which leads to a feeling of knowing the people of God joined together in worship on the day.

Haircuts and Hairstyles
   Like Samson, the Seventh-day Adventist movement started with a vow. Since our beginning we have been called the “People of the Book” because of our vow to study the Bible constantly—individually and together—reviewing and revising our understanding as the Word speaks more clearly to us. We are a creedless people, relying instead on the living, breathing Word of God. Sabbath school is the place where we learn, practice and model this constant commitment to studying the Bible.
   Adventists sat in the circle of Sabbath school long before they lined pews to listen to doctrinal dissertations, lifestyle lectures or other monotonous monologues. We engaged in discussion, enlivened through private study and personal relationships. Life was brought to us and through us as we engaged with the Word of God in conversation. Engaging in Bible study together increased our spiritual maturity. We grew from small group Bible studies into church communities worshipping together.
   Like Samson’s hair, Sabbath school has always been our strength. At our strongest, we are a people in active group discussion. To reduce the strength of the Adventist people, cut Sabbath school. Focus on only one or two of the four purposes of Sabbath school and ignore the others. Tell us we don’t have time to share our stories. Tell us mission—both global and local—isn’t part of Sabbath school. Turn it into a sermon rather than a group Bible study. Teach us what to think rather than teaching us how to think.
   There’s nothing wrong with a new hairstyle. Doing Sabbath school differently demonstrates life. But failing to build our church around a robust purpose-filled Sabbath school causes our people to avoid Sabbath school, and our strength is sapped. It is easy (and almost seems wise!) to cut Sabbath school when we loose the vision of what it means to truly be a Seventh-day Adventist people. We are not just a denomination with doctrines. We are a Sabbath school class; reaching in, out, up and across.
   Sacrificing any of the four purposes of Sabbath school demonstrates that we have lost our vision, or at least are beginning to let it become blurry. What are the four purposes, you ask? They are Nurture (reaching in), Local Evangelism (reaching out), Worship (reaching up), and Global Mission (reaching across the world). These four purposes have been the foundation of Sabbath school for more than 150 years! They build a people of God individually, locally, globally and eternally.
   A church without healthy Sabbath school groups can create very cold, judgmental people who are committed to Truth more than Love. The emotional maturity gained in patiently listening to others during Sabbath school discussions shapes a Christ like people. We need more than sermons to become loving people! The relationships of church members with each other and the reputation of the church in the wider community are tied closely to the health of Sabbath school. This is because a healthy Sabbath school teaches our people how to treat others with patience, respect and love.

Regaining our Vision
   To save our house, more than anything, we need our strongmen to have clear vision. In our Sabbath school classes, we learn to listen to viewpoints that differ from our own and give the people airing those views the benefit of the doubt because we care for them. The judgmental nature of some Adventists emerges from a failure to remain in harmonious dialogue as a people. Disciples who have spent years learning through listening—in addition to private study—are inclined to show mercy.
   Unfortunately, those who practice brutal honesty usually enjoy the brutality more than the honesty. A church with clear vision and a four-pillared Sabbath school foundation does not breed this type of strongman. When our vision is healthy and clear, we are proactive and use our ever-increasing strength to build others up, empowering them to glorify God.
   When our vision is lost or blurry, we are reactive and use our ever-decreasing strength to tear down others indiscriminately. People outside our church are derided, maligned and demonised. People inside are critiqued, pigeonholed and demoralised. We do this, not because we are evil but, like a blinded warrior, because we struggle with our own usefulness and the foggy memory of a purpose that once felt sure. A regained vision will lead to healthy relationships both inside and outside the church walls.
   Samson regained his strength and used it within the confines of his sightless reality. Our sight still remains, not yet lost completely. Only through fully regained vision and a renewing of Sabbath school will the church reclaim its strength.
   For now, having not lost our vision completely, we need not tear down anything, or anyone, for we can see. Our vision of the Kingdom—a people of the Book glorifying God together in word and action—will compel and constrain our strength to be used for increase rather than decrease, for shaping rather than slaughtering, for mercy rather than might.
   Sabbath school, our strength, done with clear vision creates growth in faith, mission, purpose and passion for the growth of the Kingdom of God. With Sabbath school as our foundation—actively reaching in, out, up and across—the Seventh-day Adventist movement will be a People of the Book, changing the world as we grow into the lovely and loving image of Jesus.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Christmas Story

Christmas has been around for a long time. There are a thousand ways of telling the Christmas story, each slightly different because it came from a slightly different time, place and culture.

The oldest stories we can find go back thousands of years, to celebrations of early Europeans who celebrated light and birth during the darkest and coldest times of the year—winter solstice, hoping to bring about the next season when light, growth and warmth would return.

This celebration changed into a time of feasting in Scandinavia when the Norse celebrated Yule starting on December 21. They would light huge logs and feast until the logs burnt out. The best logs could last up to 12 days! 

Sometime later, as Christianity was spreading through the world, it brought with it new reasons to celebrate. The celebration of the birth of Jesus didn’t have a fixed day until Christian leaders decided to match dates with the ancient holiday happening during winter and call it Christmas. As this new holiday, a time of gift giving and family togetherness, spread around the world, Santa Clause was born. This jolly man, with his bag of toys, quickly became the story many people told their children about Christmas.

Today, the story and meaning of Christmas is a little different in each part of the world. Here in Australia, our story is quite unique. Christmas is during the middle of summer. We can hardly build snowmen and we try to avoid lighting fires. Families meet together for outdoor cricket, BBQ’s, beach trips, Carols by Candlelight and late night drives to look at houses covered in lights. 

No matter where you are in the world, one thing remains the same on Christmas. It is a time of giving. Gifts are given by parents to children. Families pass plates of delicious food. People participate in donating gifts to their community. Churches provide free meals for struggling families and individuals. At Christmas, everyone should feel joy and love.

May you have a wonderful Christmas
   as you share your gifts with others.
May your family be blessed and joyful
   as you share conversation and food.
May you experience peace and love
   as you consider the Christmas story.
And may the Christmas story you tell  
   bring new life, meaning and purpose to all.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

The Purpose

Our purpose in Sabbath School—in all of Christianity—is to win people to the Love of Christ. Facts do not win hearts. Love wins hearts. The primary focus of passionate Jesus followers needs to be to Love first. Love Jesus. Love others. Love ourselves. Love the world Jesus made. Redemption comes from the knowledge of Love not the knowledge of facts.

There are too many denominations. Too many right people.
We need more righteous people.

To be right is to know the facts of Truth. To be righteous is to know the Truth of Love.
Only Love saves the lost. Facts just give us better report cards.
Wouldn't it be nice of our report cards mattered?
Only Jesus' report card matters.

Our good deeds just point to Him, His Love and His offer of a new report card - His.
That's Love! And that is a songsheet worth singing from!

So, what should Sabbath School be? It should be a worldview altering picture of Jesus. A picture that shows the Kingdom of Jesus' Love and the Grace that leads there. The truth experienced in Sabbath School should lead to the Truth of His eternal, forgiving, Loving way with words!

That was fun to write. Now I just need to start living it! :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Church Debates

This is every church debate ever ...


Thanks, kids. You said it all!


Thursday, October 02, 2014

The Hidden Path - 12 - Saying Goodbye

“Oh, no” Susie said. “I totally forgot, I promised Mom I’d help her prepare for tonight’s special dinner.” She stood to leave.

Henry looked at her like she was forgetting something really obvious. “Susie, I don’t think we are going anywhere. We are prisoners.”

“Prisoners?” The dragon said, almost crying. “You came to see me!”

“Then we can leave?” Henry asked.

“Leave?” The dragon’s voice took a steely tone. “Why would you want to leave?”

Henry looked at Susie. “See,” he said. “Told you.”

Susie walked up to the dragon’s cheek and patted it. “I promise to come back, and when I do, I’ll bring the ruby I found on the path.”

Henry, understanding what Susie was doing, pulled the pouch off his neck. “You can have these back, too!” he dumped the five nuggets into his palm. “Here are the five gold nuggets I took yesterday.”

The dragon purred like a huge cat at seeing his gold again. “My hoard!” He said, “Please just drop them there.”

Henry dropped the nuggets. The dragon pulled his head away from the cave entrance. As the two children headed out of the cave, the dragon said, “Can I ask you one last favour?”

Susie and Henry stopped and looked at the dragon, waiting for his request.

“Show me your town,” the dragon said. “I would love to see all the happy people laughing and talking to each other.”

“How can we do that?” Henry said, “If we bring you down there, people will be terrified and try to kill you!”

“With the ruby,” the dragon said. “I can see all the ruby sees.”

“You can?" the children said together, completely surprised.

“Yes, that’s why I’m letting you go,” the dragon said. “Henry, I saw you share the ruby with your sister. And Susie, I saw you take the ruby to the jewellers to have a necklace made for your mother. You are the kind of friends I would love to have!”

Susie looked at Henry. “He’s telling the truth,” she said. “How else would he know those things happened?” Henry nodded his head.

“Please keep the ruby and ask your mother to wear it wherever she goes,” the dragon said. “Then I will know the stories of the many friends in my new village!”

“We will,” Henry said. 

“We promise,” Susie added.

The two children walked out of the dragon’s cave and on to the path. A gentle rain was starting to fall.

“I would also love a visit, now and then,” the old dragon said from behind them. “If you can spare the time.”
The Hidden Path
a fairytale by David Edgren

“We will definitely come back!” Henry said.

“We’re your friends, now,” Susie said. “We will be back as often as we can.”

“Thank you,” the dragon said. “I’ll be waiting here and watching all you show me. Bye, my friends.”


“Bye!” Henry and Susie said together.


---X-X-X---   THE END   ---X-X-X---

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Hidden Path - 11 - Fireballs

11. Fireballs

As the children passed into the cave, the dragon’s tail slid into position along the wall next to them, his head followed them into the cave. As he drew his head back inside, he used it to block the cave entrance. His huge bronze body, now in a huge C-shape, filled most of the cave. As the children passed the end of his tail the dragon flicked it behind them and laid his head on it. Now they were trapped inside a huge circle of dragon. 

“Have a seat,” The dragon rumbled. “Sit on my tail at whatever height suits you.”

Susie walked along the tail of the dragon until she reached a spot as high as a chair. She felt the dragon’s huge scales and sat in the middle of one. Henry sat next to her.

The dragon let out a huge sigh of relief. “Ahh, It feels so good to have some friends, again!” 

Henry looked at Susie and mouthed the word, “Friends?” Susie shrugged.

“I used to have a princess,” the dragon continued. “She was so beautiful! Her hair was like strings of gold and her eyes were as blue as sapphires. She was a sight to behold. She was proud and confident. And she was smart. Oh, the conversations we had! We had a couple of wonderful years together.” The dragon’s huge eye half closed as he got lost in his thoughts.

Susie looked over at Henry and raised her hands, as if to say, “What now?”

Henry said, “We are not royalty. We’re just village kids.”

“I know who you are,” The dragon said. “I’ve been watching you just like I watched the princess before she came to live with me.”

“What happened to the princess,” Susie said in a scared whisper.

The dragon breathed a rapid ragged breath and whimpered a tiny sob. Then he coughed trying to cover the sob. When he coughed, a fireball burst from his nose and flared against the wall in front of his face. His eye flew open and darted around the room until it found Henry and Susie. Seeing them, the dragon let out another sigh of relief.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to make fire. It just happens, these days,” the dragon said. “It was a knight. Shiniest armour I ever saw. He came raging in here like he owned the place. The sun was just setting outside the cave and his armour lit up like a thousands diamonds in the sun. I was blinded, just for a moment. But, that was long enough for him to grab the princess and run.” The dragon went quiet for a couple of seconds, then added, “She was my best friend, ever. She was mine, and he just took her.” The dragon’s eye glistened wetly until a massive tear fell to the ground. His huge eyelid, like a warriors shield, closed over his eye.

Susie grimaced at Henry, she’d obviously hit a sore spot in his story. “Are you lonely?” Susie asked the dragon.

The dragon remained quiet and unresponsive. 

Henry thought a change of topic might be good. “Why do you keep sneezing fireballs?”

The eye opened and focused on Henry. “I’m just getting old.” The dragon said. “In my warrior years, I would save up my fire and scare entire armies of men with huge bursts that covered an entire valley. Now, I just snort and sneeze fireballs without meaning to.”

“That must be embarrassing!”  Henry said.

“Yes, but it’s worse than embarrassing,” the dragon said. “I had a pet frog a few months back. He told me a joke that made me laugh and I fried him to a crisp.”
The Hidden Path
a fairytale by David Edgren

“Awww, that’s sad!” Susie said. “Is that why you never face us? You always look at us with just one eye.”

“Exactly,” the dragon said. “I keep my head above or to the side of whoever I’m with. I don’t want any more accidentally fried friends.”

“Thanks for that,” Henry said.

The Dragon laughed a small fireball. “You’re welcome, kid.”



Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Hidden Path - 10 - The Invitation

Susie peered carefully around the corner and into the cave. The sunlight cast a hard shadow a few metres into the cave making it nearly impossible to see inside. Susie focused into the depth of the cave and let her eyes adjust. What took shape before her was beyond belief. Laying just past the line of shadow, blocking the entire cave entrance, was a huge dragon. His head was by the far wall and turned into the cave. His tail was in front of Susie, curled in an S-shape, its tip just inside the cave shadow.

A huge sniffing sound came from the dragon. A sorrowful sob of sadness rattled down the dragon from his head to the tip of his tail. Each scale shook gently, giving the sound of a thousand shields clattering against each other. The dragon took in a slow deep laboured breath and then sneezed. 

Suddenly the cave lit up with a burst of fire. The dragon’s sneeze had been accompanied with a fireball snort! In the burst of firelight, Susie saw the entire dragon. Like a camera flash, the fireball burnt an image into Susie’s mind causing her to jump back around the corner.

“It’s a huge golden dragon!” She shouted with excitement. As soon as she spoke she clapped her hand to her mouth. Then she whispered, “He’s sitting just inside the cave!”

“You could see him?” Henry said in amazement.

“He sneezed a fireball!” Susie laughed, her eyes wide with excitement. “I saw his entire golden body!”

An impossibly deep voice, far too close, rumbled, “Bronze, actually.”

Henry, who was facing Susie, saw it first. 

Behind Susie a huge snout came into the sunlight. The dragon had heard Susie shout and now he was staring at both of them. 

Susie saw Henry’s eyes before she heard the dragon’s voice. Henry stared above Susie’s head and turned white enough to pass for a piece of chalk.

Susie spun around and took in a shocked breath. The dragon’s head was completely out of the cave, one huge eye looking directly at the children. Sussie stared directly into the dragon’s eye. Divided into fractals, like a diamond, the eye stared back at her unblinking. 

Henry and Susie were too petrified to move. Like thousand year-old trees, they stood rooted in place. What could they do? 

Just then, the eye slammed shut and the dragon sneezed again. A fireball shot out of his nose and over the valley floor below the cave entrance. Susie felt the heat of it as if she had been standing close to a bonfire for too long. 
The Hidden Path
a fairytale by David Edgren

The dragon’s eye opened wide, in what looked like a brief moment of panic. “Sorry,” he said. “Accident.” 

The dragon pulled his head away from the children, making an opening into the cave. “Do come in,” he said. It was both a request and, clearly, a command.


Susie looked at Henry, took his hand, and the two children walked into the Dragon’s cave.



Monday, September 29, 2014

The Hidden Path - 9 - Dragon’s Hoard

It seemed like it only took seconds for Henry to race past the waterwheel, the powerstation, across the bridge and up the hidden path opposite the generator house.

He was half way up the path before he slowed to catch his breath.

“Susie! Susie?” Henry called, hoping she hadn’t reached the cave yet. 

There was no response.

What have I done? Henry thought. I should have been honest with Susie. Why did I lie. 

He kept walking as fast as he could up the steep rocky path.

Then again, if I had told her about the dragon… she wouldn’t have believed me! 

The trees were thinning. Henry realised he was nearly to the cliff side. He would be at the cave soon.

I still should have told her the cave was dangerous. Really Dangerous! Then, maybe she would have stayed away. Henry wasn’t too sure of that. Susie was stubborn. If she wanted to do something, she would do it—no matter what other people said. She probably would have just thought I was trying to keep more gold and jewels for myself.

He was so lost in his raging storm of thought and argument, Henry nearly ran straight into Susie as she came running around a corner in the path. 

Susie spun sideways to miss crashing into her brother and continued running down the path. With one hand she grabbed Henry’s arm, pulling him after her.

“RUN!” she shouted.

She’s seen the dragon! Henry thought with a rush of relief. And she’s alive! 

As Henry started to run after his sister there was an earth-shaking roar behind them followed by an odd sounding cry, “COME BACK!”

Henry grabbed Susie’s arm and pulled her to a stop. “Did you hear that?” he asked. 

Susie took a three big breaths, recovering from her sprint. “Yes,” she said, “The dragon is very upset that you took his hoard.” Susie took two more long breaths. “He thought I was you. He shot a fireball over my head from the back of his cave. The he shouted that I should bring back his gold.”

Henry thought for a moment. “do you think it is really a dragon?”

“What else would it be?” Susie asked.

“Well,” Henry said, “Five little chunks of gold isn’t much of a hoard for a fire-breathing dragon. Shouldn’t he have a massive treasure trove?”

“Maybe he does,” Susie said. “Maybe you just found a tiny bit of it. Maybe it was bait, to get you to go in the cave.”

“And maybe the Ruby and gold flake were bait to keep me going up the trail!” Henry added.

Susie had a new look in her eyes and rubbed her hands together. “Let’s sneak back, real quiet, and see if we can find anything else.”

The Hidden Path
a fairytale by David Edgren
“YES!” Henry said. 

Quickly, but quietly, they made their way back up the trail and stood just outside the cave. They paused and listened for any sounds of the dragon. From inside the cave, they heard a noise very different too what they were expecting.

“What is that?” Henry whispered.


Susie took a step forward, and listened. Finally she stepped back and said, “It sounds like someone crying.”

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Energize your Sabbath School - Workshop

Does your Sabbath School class reach it's full potential?



Make it so, number one!

The Hidden Path - 8 - Gracie’s Jewellers

As Henry passed “Gracie’s Jewellers” he heard his name being shouted out. He slowed to a halt and looked in through the window. Gracie was waving at him, “Come in!” she shouted through the glass.

Henry went back a few steps to the door and entered the shop. He didn’t want to waste time, but it was rude to run off when an adult called you.

Gracie was standing behind the sales counter. “You sister was just here,” she said. As Henry approached the counter, Gracie looked furtively around the shop and leaned forward to whisper, “Lovely ruby!”

Henry was both amazed and angered at once. He could not believe Susie would be dumb enough to show off her new ruby. Everyone will want to know where it came from! And she showed it to the jeweller! Henry brooded. Of all the people! Gracie will be talking about it to every jewel collector in town!

“Oh, don’t worry,” Gracie winked, “Your secret is safe with me!”

My secret? Henry’s jaw nearly dropped. Gracie knows about the cave! Wait until I get a hold of Susie. She is going to pay!

The look of concern that crossed Henry’s face caused Gracie to pause. “I promise, Henry,” she said. “It will be a lovely gift for your Mom. I will set it in the nicest necklace I can find. And I won’t tell a soul! Susie made me promise. And I always keep my promises… And my secrets!”

Henry couldn’t hide the relief he felt. “So you … um…” Henry caught his breath and started again. He had almost said, “So you don’t know about the cave?” but caught himself just in time. “Is that all Susie told you?”

“Yes,” Gracie said putting her finger to her chin. “She said your mom had seen the ruby and fell in love with it.”

Well, that is true! Henry nearly laughed but converted it into a big smile just in time. “She sure did!” he said.

“Have a nice day, Henry,” Gracie said with a wide smile.

“I will,” Henry replied as he turned toward the door.

­I need to hurry, Henry worried. She could be at the cave by now!

As Henry rushed out of the shop, Gracie called after him, “What’s the rush? My shop’s not on fire!”

“I know,” Henry said, turning to face the jeweller. “I just need to find Susie.”

“Well, she told me she was headed over to the powerstation,” Gracie said.
The Hidden Path
a fairytale by David Edgren

So she is going to the cave! Henry knew he had get there as fast as possible. I should have told her about the dragon! If she’s cooked, it’s my fault.

Gracie added, “You kids all seem to love that waterwheel!”

“Yeah, it’s, um, cool,” Henry replied just before he burst into an all-out run.


“Wow!” Gracie said to no one in particular. “Somebody’s got a bee in their bonnet!”

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Hidden Path - 7 - Chasing Susie

The next morning, after getting out of bed and getting dressed, Henry went to the kitchen to have breakfast. He went to his chair and sat down.

Mom was busy in the kitchen. “Good morning, little explorer!” she said with a smile.

“Morning, Mom,” Henry said, smiling.

Mom put a plate of toast and jam in the middle of the table. Henry spread some jam on a piece of toast as Mom sat in her chair.

“What are your plans for today,” Mom asked as she reached for a piece of toast.

“Dunno,” Henry replied as he looked into the kitchen. He leaned back on his chair and looked around the corner in to the lounge room. “Where’s Susie?” he asked.

“She left a few minutes ago,” Mom answered. “She said she had places to go and people to see.”

“Weird,” Henry said half to himself. “She always sleeps later than me.”

“Yes,” Mom said, “She was very excited and ready for a busy day. She seemed to have something on her mind.”

Henry hoped he was wrong, but he was guessing Suzie had his cave on her mind. She wants more rubies. That was his guess. Oh boy, he thought to himself, I hope she doesn’t get cooked by the fire-breathing dragon! I better go help her!

Henry shoved the remaining chunk of toast into his mouth, pushed his chair back from the table and stood quickly.

“What’s got you in such a sudden hurry?” Mom asked.

Henry tried to talk, but his mouth was too full. He managed a couple of big chews and then said in a garbled voice, “I’m gonna go find Susie.”

“Ok,” Mom said. “Have fun and be careful.”

The Hidden Path
a fairytale by David Edgren
“I will, Mom,” Henry said. I just hope Susie was careful enough not to get fried.

Henry checked to see that his pouch was hanging around his neck as he rushed out the door. He navigated his way through town taking the shortest route possible to the waterwheel.

He didn’t want to run, because then people would wonder where he was going in such a hurry. And, knowing his friends, somebody would follow him. So, he tried to walk quickly but still look at shop windows and smile at people as he walked through town.



Friday, September 26, 2014

The Hidden Path - 6 - The Story

Soon it was time for dinner. Henry repeated his story for Mom and Dad. They both listened only paying half-attention—until Henry and Susie showed them the nuggets and ruby. Then they were much more interested.

“Where did you say you got these things?” Dad asked.

“He found them, on the mountain!” Susie answered quickly—not wanting to loose her ruby.

“Yeah, I was walking on a little goat track and I saw the sun reflect on this,” Henry held up the speck of gold on the tip of his finger. “And then, a little further up the path I saw the ruby.”

Susie cut in, “And he gave it to me!” She smiled and held the ruby out between two fingers, “Because he is the best brother in the whole world!”

Henry nodded really big and continued, “And then I saw this cave and I went in and saw a little pile of gold nuggets just sitting there. So, I grabbed them and brought them home!”

Mom was looking at the ruby in Susie’s hand. “That is beautiful,” she said admiringly. “Can I hold it?” As Mom held the ruby up to the light, she asked, “Are you sure these things don’t belong to someone else?”

Something else, Henry thought to himself, but not someone else. “Um, yeah,” he said, a bit flustered, “I mean, who would leave gold nuggets in a cave?” He looked up at his parents with big eyes—as innocent as he could make them.

The Hidden Path
a fairytale by David Edgren

They both stared at him for a long moment, then Dad spoke. “Well, you best keep this cave a secret or the whole town will be up there looking for gold!”

Henry nodded vigorously, “Yeah, good point.” Then he paused for a moment, remembering the fire-breathing beast. “But, I had a good look around. I don’t think there is any more gold or anything.”

“That’s probably for the best,” Mom said. “You’ve had a bit of good fortune today—and a fun adventure. Count yourself lucky!”


“Yup, I do!” Henry answered. Lucky to be alive! He thought, remembering the fireball that just missed his head.