Just above the sea’s drop off into the cold depths lay the city of Aquis. Turrets of shell and pearl sparkled under the liquid bubble that encased the city, allowing its inhabitants protection and breathable air. Most of the Colo colony had come from above the sea, before the war and fires had burned and destroyed everything they once held dear. The Colo were a proud people, fiercely loyal to their own, and determined to never again be forced from their home.
Cor wiped sweat off his face as he completed his morning strengthening routine. His golden skin glistened as waves from a passing pod of dolphins rippled the surface of the bubble. He jumped as Viva popped out suddenly from behind a fofo plant, its puffy pink petals raining down. “Have you heard the latest?” Viva blurted as she pushed her long, plaited braids off her shoulders. “What’s the latest?” Cor asked. “With you, it could be anything.” She lowered her voice. “There’s been a disturbance in the dark side of the sea.” Cor’s coal black eyes turned grave. “Gigas?” Viva nodded. The great creature lived in the depths, rarely surfacing. Yet when it showed its spiny face and thrashed its powerful body, devastation was left in its wake.
Suddenly, a deafening roar shook the sand beneath their feet. Cor and Viva watched through the bubble in horror as creatures of the deep clawed, swam, and fought their way out of the drop off. Among them were the Nura people. The Nuras weren’t enemies of the Colos, nor were they friends. They simply stayed in the depths, occasionally speeding up to the surface to do no-one-knew-what. Most of the Colos assumed they were up to no good. As unsightly as the Nuras were, something inside Viva’s heart broke as she watched them struggle to escape from the Gigas’s claws, some holding the hands of small children or clutching babies in their arms.
“We have to help them! Open the gates!” Cor sprinted toward the gates where he was blocked by several Colos. “What are you doing?” Viva shrieked in anger. “Can’t you see they’re being slaughtered out there?” The tallest of the Colo shook his head. “Most unfortunate. However, we must protect the Colo. We know nothing about these Nura creatures.”
A Colo woman in the group wrinkled her nose in distaste. “Just look at them! Grey, spikes and spines, not a sheen of color—not to mention they are land and water creatures! Who knows what havoc they might wreak in Aquis!”
Viva glanced back and forth between the Colo blocking them and the chaos that reigned outside the bubble’s surface. “Cor, we need to do something!” Her voice quivered with emotion. “How can we get through to our people? What would the Author do?” Viva watched indecision war on Cor’s face until a calm determination settled in her friend’s gaze.
Cor broke free from the group and climbed a turret while Viva blew the Conch Shell of Gathering. “Colo friends,” Cor’s voice rang out clear and strong. “When we founded the city of Aquis, we did so under the guidance of the Book of Wisdom. The Author commands that we be people of the Sacred Heart. Because He loves us all, we are to love the Author with all our hearts, and then to love our neighbors as ourselves.”
Viva joined her voice with Cor’s. “The Author wrote that others look at the surface, but He looks at the heart. Let us be people of the Sacred Heart, who view all hearts as sacred, who value our neighbors as the Author values us all. With His very life, He wrote that we are worth dying for.”
Silence descended over Aquis as the spoken words settled like fine sand onto the Colos’ hearts. Hearts that, Viva prayed, would be receptive and emboldened. Cor’s eyes glistened with tears as a chant rose gently, then swelled to a crescendo: “Open the gates!” • Savannah Coleman
• Consider taking some time to read the Bible passages mentioned in today’s allegorical story, 1 Samuel 16:1-13 and Luke 10:25-37. Jesus is “the author of life” (Acts 3:15). He is God in human flesh. Because of His great love for us, He was willing to die for us so that we could be saved from death and sin and evil. He died for people who are like us, and people who aren’t like us. For people we like, and people we don’t like. And then He rose again, triumphant over all the powers of darkness. How does God’s immeasurable love—both for us and for others—make it possible for us to respond to His call to love our neighbors as ourselves?
• As humans living in a broken world, we have a tendency to judge by outward appearances. It can be easy to view others who are different from us as distasteful or suspicious. But the Lord helps us see everyone the way He sees us—His beautiful creations who bear His image (Genesis 1:27). When do you find it difficult to see people through the eyes of God, to listen to them and love them with His heart? Consider taking a moment to pray about this, confessing any sins that come to mind, resting in Jesus’s sure forgiveness, and asking for help and guidance in how to move forward in His love. In addition to talking to God, who are trusted Christians in your life you could talk to about all this?
We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:19 (NLT)