June 28, 2023
Sharing yet another story from the second audiobook in the “Tales of the Kingdom” series: “Tales of the Resistance,” David and Karen Mains discuss the bottom-line message of the Lord Jesus Christ: His Kingdom. Understand that the Kingdom of God is wherever the reign of God’s Son is recognized and honored.
Every stranger has the possibility of becoming a friend. I think that people go through days often in their work environment, certain kinds of work environments, and they never hear anyone speak their name. When I ask that question, I do it because I think it indicates that I’m interested in them. So, I’ve just really attempted to be in casual counters, warm and friendly and grateful. Thank people. And I will ask that question. Tell me your name.
David: When you are on the phone, Karen, maybe talking with a salesperson, there’s something you say that is very much you. Do you know what it is I’m talking about?
Karen: What are you talking about?
David: I’m talking about a question you ask.
Karen: Well, I always try and establish a connection. So, I’ll say, “Well, tell me your name.”
David: That’s it.
Karen: Is that what you’re saying? Not just with people on the phone. I do that with salespeople across the counter or wherever I run into. It’s not a ridiculous question, but just a momentary sort of a pause.
David: Tell me your name.
Karen: Tell me your name.
Intro: Welcome to the Before We Go Podcast, featuring Dr. David Mains and his wife, noted author, Karen Mains. Here’s David and Karen Mains.
David: I don’t think most people ask strangers their names. Why do you do it?
Karen: Well, you know, every stranger has the possibility of becoming a friend. I think that people go through days often in their work environment, certain kinds of work environments, and they never hear anyone speak their name. When I ask that question, I do it because I think it indicates that I’m interested in them. So, I’ve just really attempted to be in casual counters, warm and friendly and grateful. Thank people. And I will ask that question. Tell me your name.
David: Can you tell any difference after you ask the question?
Karen: Yeah, they respond right away. It’s not always overtly identifiable, but you get a feeling of them leaning in, let’s say, or smiling or little indicators like that. Tell me it’s worth asking that question.
David: Okay. Well, that’s you very much. We decided to take a break from the following news stories and resort to storytelling. And I have been reading stories related to the King who is a Christ figure in our Kingdom Tale series of books. This tale is called the Orphan Exodus. And I think we may need to give a little background to this. What is the Orphan Exodus about?
Karen: This is an allegorical writing in some aspects. And so, you have the Kingdom of Darkness represented by the Enchanter and his, what I call minions in the book, people who serve him; and the King, this beautiful center of light and love. And of course, the King is a Christ figure. So that’s basically the message of it. And then what happens to those who live in the darkness? Those who choose to step into the light into following the King and being a part of his Kingdom. That’s really what the stories are all about.
David: And there’s a key figure in this story that has been kind of unfolding as the tales go along and that’s Big Operator.
Karen: Yeah, I like him. He’s had of the taxi resistance now. You know, in big cities in the past, things are changing now, you would get a taxi. And so, he has organized the taxi drivers to be a resistance movement and they’re there to help. To show up when transportation is needed in desperate circumstances. Not just ordinary circumstances. And they risk the people who are in danger away from that danger.
David: If the King is a Christ figure, is the operator…
Karen: Yeah, he’s John the Baptist.
Karen: And taxi drivers are all of us who sort of compared to. I mean, there are all kinds of roles in this Kingdom for all kinds of different people working in different ways, but you know they’re great. They are just absolutely great.
David: Okay, let’s listen to the story and again we’ll pull back this thought that we began with about the importance of knowing people’s names.
The Degoda, a place of brooding towers and iron gates, of council chambers to devise unjust deeds, and of courtrooms to sentence the innocent, of fire-precells and the secret service garrison, of prison and torture chambers, of the orphan pavilion where the frightened orphans are drilled under the cruel hand of the Orphan Keeper, from this evil center the Enchanter casts his dark spells.
The King and Big Operator approach the Degoda. Burners guarded all entrances, their pokers glowing luridly in the dark, while squads of breakers boot stomped in and out, cudgels held attack ready. Both men knew it was a dangerous night. The King whispered, “the Enchanter is readying his forces for assault. Our time is short.” Big operator nodded. They must do what they had come to do quickly lest their bold plan be aborted.
For days the drivers and dispatchers had watched the King and the chief huddle together behind the glassed-in office of the city taxi company. Another rescue strategy was in the making. All sensed the bond of love between the two as they concentrated on unfolded maps on the desk, but none knew the plan they were devising was so desperate. It could well be Big Operator’s last. Shortly vanguard orders for an orphan exodus appeared at the dispatcher control panel.
The next night the fleet of swift taxis crept with dimmed headlights through the streets, disconnected from the power source, and took to back alleys. They were to surround the Enchanter’s Degoda, await the signal, and then whisk as many escapees from the orphan pavilion as possible to the edge of the garbage dump where the King himself would accompany the children to Great Park.
The Orphan Pavilion was to one side of the Degoda, enclosed by a high wall with a surrounding courtyard. A sign beside the tall gate proclaimed, “We love children” – Orphan Keepers’ Association. But everyone in enchanted city knew the children were loved only because they provided forced labor to do the dirty work of the enchanter.
Two huge wolves, the size of lions, guarded either side of the entrance. They growled as the men approached. The creatures bared their teeth and drooled. A soft like gathered around the King. The wolves stared, whimpered, and then hid their heads in their paws while the two men passed them by. All closed places open to the King when he so willed it.
Inside, a squad of orphans wearing tattered rags scrubbed the courtyard. A keeper’s assistant, with a whistle around her neck, chanted, “Clean! Clean! Clean!” And stood ready to beat the slow workers with a long stick. Another work detail. A long line of children tied together at the ankles with rough sections of rope were getting ready to collect the city garbage which citizens tossed on the street. A whistle blew. “Weak! Weak”! And the crew marched to the waiting carts while another assistant prodded them with the sharp tines of her forked shovel.
Huge vats of water boiled while children stirred the dirty clothes within. The hot water splashed on the orphans’ rags, burning them one moment, and then soaking them into the skin in the cold night. An assistant prodded them with a long wooden turning spoon. “Weak!” She blew her whistle and shouted, “Scoundrels! Dimwits, I’ll boil you if you spill any more water. Weak!” All the orphans, boys, and girls wore the same haircut making it nearly impossible to tell one from the other. That clothes were an identical gray which grew increasingly threadbare during washings as they were passed down from one child to another. Skinny, sad-eyed, covered with sores from the lack of proper foods, not one orphan smiled or laughed or told jokes or chased another in games of tag. Games were forbidden and play had been outlawed. No one belonged to any other. Brothers and sisters were separated. There were no holidays and never any birthday cakes.
Lanterns cast a dim light in the dark courtyard. Big Operator and the King could see another work detail, carrying brooms, prepared to march out to sweep the streets. The workers were all barefoot, and the night was cold. “Hey!” Shouted the assistant keeper and bleated on her whistle. “Weak! Weak!” As one, the troops centered the broom handles on their shoulders. “I told you to keep the line!” Yelled the guard again, and she stumped on the foot of a little child who had stumbled. “Got her”! Shouted the keeper cruelly as the child dropped the broom and grasped the poor foot but uttered not a sound. The penalty for sobbing was a hot poker prod.
Big Operator seethed with enormous rage. It was against this abuse that he had given his life, against this outrage that he had masterminded the resistance, against these indignities that he had worked for the restoration. He wanted to yell and shout. He wanted to take that guard and shake her by her shoulders. The King restrained him with his hand.
Then a young voice demanded, “What are you doing here? No outsiders allowed on the premises.” It was an older child, dressed in faded blue. An orphan who had come up through orphan ranks and was now dressed in the uniform of an assistant in training. He was still barefoot. Only full-fledged assistants were issued footwear. Their food rations were also increased from one meal a day to two, and they were given whistles. For some, that was reason enough to mistreat one’s fellow orphan.
“Hello, Jason”, said the King. “We’ve come to speak to the orphan keeper.” At the sound of his name, the boy’s eyes widened. Orphans were addressed only by number and rank. The last person who had spoken his name had been his mother years ago. So long ago he could scarcely remember her face or the sound of her voice. The boy cocked his head as though listening to something far away, something almost forgotten. He moved closer.
“Who are you”? He whispered his voice very low. The King answered in the same way. “Gently, careful not to frighten the orphan. I am the King.” “How did you know my name”? “I know all the names of the ones who belong to me.”
Suddenly a siren horn blared. Whistles blew, “Weak! Weak”! And all the orphans’ clothes ranks up to, up to, up to, and stood at attention. The assistant keepers, saluted in front of their squads. All was quiet in the courtyard except for the sound of orphans snuffling running noses and the stamp, stamp, stamp a frozen feet on cold hard stones. And the wailing of the night wind out of enchanted city.
“She comes”, whispered the child, “she comes each night for inspection.” The expression in his eyes looked as though a brief glimpse into the world once loved and longed for had been shattered. In terror the boy ran to find his place.
At that moment a woman appeared at the inside entrance to the orphan pavilion. She was tall and beautiful and wore glamorous clothes, purple fitted pants with matching purple boots and a flowing red robe which she swept from one side to another behind her. She cracked the cat o’ nine tails in her hand. A golden headdress, embossed with flames, crowned her brilliant black hair. She wore bracelets and rings and air loops and one glittering necklace draped over another and another.
Drums rolled the announcement of her appearing. Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta! Beside her stood two burners with glowing pokers. Keeper assistants bowed in the ranks their whistles clattering on the paving stones. Torch-burners lit her path. With each step the Orphan Keeper’s jewels glimmered and glistened in the reflected torch-light. Her severe beauty was chiseled by the hard edge of hatred. Her eyes flashed with sinister power over the orphans who had been entrusted to her keeping. There was nothing soft in all her body or in all her soul.
“I am the Orphan Keeper”, she entuned. “You will do my bidding. You will keep my commands. I have control over your lives and your destinies. I am the one who says nay and yeah. You can never escape. You can never go where I say no.”
The children cowered, even the older ones. All knew this loveless woman had power to send them to the underworld to poison their food and call it night ailment. To advance them or to cut off their rations. It was she who ordered punishment for all if one orphan misbehaved. “You are mine. You are all mine”, she shouted again, lashing the air with a hand whip.
“Let my children go.” Everyone within the courtyard froze. The drum stopped in mid-roll. To da da da. “Who dared disrupt the Orphan Keeper’s time schedule? Who dared interrupt her early night work duty harangue”? The children shivered in the cold, miserable with hunger and now with dread. What torture would they suffer because of this unspeakable challenge?
The King had shouted the words. He faced the Orphan Keeper, throwing back the hood of his common garment from his head, as though she would recognize him once his face was fully revealed in the torchlight.
The children were stunned by such defiance. “Who was this man?” The King’s hair glimmered with gold highlights, and his loose and street-roll fell to the paving stones, and he stood strong and tall and broad-shouldered and handsome. Big Operator’s jaw dropped. He had never beheld his King undisguised, so young and so beautiful.
The Orphan Keeper cracked her cat o’ nine tails in the air. “I know you, you troublemaker, you, instigator. Who do you think you are challenging my power? The Enchanter has cast his spell over these children. They are mine. I can do what I please with them.”
The King answered not a word, but all could see he was as angry as she. He crossed the pavement and lifted his hands. A wind began to blow around and around. Ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho. It caught the torches of the torchbearers and found the flames in one windy firebrand. Ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho. Up, up it shot into the night sky over the orphan pavilion, blazing. By its light, all could see the King grab the hand whip from the Orphan Keeper’s grasp. Lash the pokers from the burner’s hands. Scatter the assistants with a crack. And then toss the instruments of torture to the sky. A bolt of lightning flashed from nowhere, striking with a crack. Flames burst, and a ball of fire fell to the ground, finally to be extinguished at the Orphan Keeper’s feet.
The ranks of orphans gasped. The assistant keepers hid their prodding spoons, sticks, and shovels behind their backs, dropped them to the ground, or pushed them under carts. Men, in the unlit dark, all could see the warm radiance of the men, standing in the middle of the courtyard, daring to defy the evil power of the Orphan Keeper herself. The King signaled to the operator, and together with a mighty thrust they overturned the boiling vat of palace laundry. They ripped the wheels from the work carts, their muscles straining in a fury of indignation, and no one moved to stop them. The burner stood, mesmerized. No warning signal was given to the Degoda. The Orphan Keeper hissed as though the air was escaping from her lungs.
Many of the children dropped to their knees, clasping their hands together beneath their chins, scarcely daring to hope. “Was this one who could save them? Would their misery finally end? Was freedom close”? The King straightened himself again and stared the Orphan Keeper in the eyes. “You mistake yourself, madame”, he said. His voice was tight with control, wrath. “These children are not yours. They belong to me.” With those words he motioned to Big Operator, who stepped forward, wiping axle grease from his hands onto his overalls. He bent his knee and bowed. Though comrade to the King before he was an obedient subject now, “Is the taxi vanguard ready”? Asked the King. “Yes, my lord, ready and waiting.” His voice was full of satisfaction.
At that the orphan keeper screamed, stag green on her feet. “You, you, you can’t take these children, their waifs, their slaves, the wolves will tear them to shreds. They do my bidding. They won’t come with you. Pay no attention.”
The King lifted his crossed arms and spread them in a circle above his head. More light diffused from his stretching embrace till it filled every corner of the grim courtyard. The orphan’s frozen feet began to warm. Their cold wet garments began to dry. Their wounds and sores began to heal in the gentle light. Their hearts began to mend. “What you don’t understand, madame”, said the King, “is that every orphan answers when his name is called in love.”
Then the King began to call the names, names unspoken for months, years, names they themselves, all but forgotten. He called them in family groups, brothers and sisters, brothers and brothers, sisters and sisters. According to age and position, he spoke their names with tenderness, with kindly affection, with cherished intimacy as though he had been practicing them for years.
Kristen, Ned, James, Sarah and Susan, Javier, Carlos and Maria, Annie, Ted, John and Linda, Yu and Chen, Sharon and Rob, Jamal and Baza, Jason, Ruth and Kathy, Malimba and each child remembered his or her name and each child stepped from the ranks. They were more than a number, more than flesh from the meat grinder, the enchanters, labor machines. They each had a name chosen in love and the family history and a King who was worthy of service. Big Operator stood now at the street entrance to the pavilion.
The beastly wolves lay silent in a stupor of sleep. He put two fingers to his mouth and blew a cabbie signal. This is his master strategy went into operation. The first taxi accelerated to curbside. The first ready orphan group climbed into the back and front seats. The driver honked and then hurried off toward the garbage dump as another cab pulled up to take another load followed by another and another. And inside the King continued to speak the children’s names. And with each naming, the Orphan Keeper grew grayer, more haggard, leaking hot air. Her hair lost its luster. Her teeth grew black and straggly until all could see her for her true self. A wicked hague who had gorge on the energy and youth and beauty of the children given to her keeping. A figure whose evil power was not her own and no people in disguise as were all who gave themselves to do the will of the Enchanter.
Finally, she was nothing, but a pile of dust covered by filthy red and purple rags. Her gold melted and her jewels turned to dust.
The Big Operator was joyful. His heart leaped with gladness. He knew the Enchanter would take revenge but even if this was to be his final strategic rescue design ever, he had been at the side of his King as together they emptied the pavilion of every last orphan.
He closed his eyes and listened to the taxi vanguard. His taxi vanguard honking throughout all of Enchanted City. Hark, hark! Here, there, and everywhere. Hark, hark! It sounded in his ears like a raucous chorus of jubilant rescue.
The King stood beside him, ready to leave to accompany the escapees into Great Park. The hand-class between them was firm and long. Their anger was gone, but strangely there was no exaltation, just a quiet sadness. Both knew what dire consequences their defiant acts would set into motion. “Farewell”, said the King, and they embraced. The embrace of two mighty men. The orphan exodus was accomplished.
Big operator watched the King disappear into the night. And though he knew it was just his imagination, it seemed as though a crowd of children stood all over the city, clapping their hands and shouting, “Bravo”! And when the last taxi had hurried away with the last load on a whim, Big Operator bowed to the city. And the applause rose louder in his heart. For Big Operator had learned through the years and mastermind in the taxi resistance that mighty deeds demand mighty risks. But that it is worth risking all for the sake of the King and the Kingdom.
What more could one want? What more could one want than to serve a good and powerful King who loves you and knows your name. He knows who you are.
David: Carry that truth with you today, friend.
Outgo: The fastest way to get information on where to buy the Tales of the Kingdom Trilogy 30th anniversary edition is to go to this website www.KingdomTales.com. You’ve been listening to the Before We Go podcast. And if you would like to write to us, please send us an email at the following address, firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please remember to rate, review, and share on whatever platform you listen. This podcast is copyright 2023 by Mainstay Ministries, Post Office Box 30, Wheaton, Illinois 60187.
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