“Merlin’s Magic Words”
Jonathan and Gwen were the best of friends. They grew up next door neighbors and from the moment they could listen, they heard stories of the great King Arthur, his valiant knights of the round table, the beautiful princesses and the terrifying dragons and of course the amazing and mysterious Merlin. How often they whispered to each other that they wished just one of these mythical people who were the rulers of their kingdom would happen by to see them in their tiny village.
“Do you think there are dragons in our forests or caves?” Gwen asked her friend curiously.
“Oh yes, there must be and when we are grown, I will fight them and King Arthur will make me a knight of the round table.” Jonathan bragged beating on his chest until he had to stop because it made him cough. The two walked along the path that lead to church talking about all these wonderful heroes and adventures that they wished they could be part of. Up ahead they saw the tiny hut which was the church for their village and they couldn’t help but look to the sky at the tall cross Jonathan’s daddy had carved and put there to honor Jesus.
“I wish I could see Merlin do his magic.” Jonathan continued.
“Oh me too Jonathan” Gwen said with a sigh. It was not a sigh of unhappiness because she was so content in her little village. She loved her parents and had wonderful friends like Jonathan and they felt safe far from the wars that the king and his knights conducted to protect their homeland. But still, children long for adventure, even if they are afraid sometimes.
“I wish I could clap my hands like this…” and he clapped loudly CLAP CLAP, “and Merlin would come and teach us his magic.”
“Hee hee hee,” Gwen giggled, “Yes we could both clap…” and she mimicked her friend with her more dainty claps CLAP CLAP “and he would come make us wizards too.
“You are very good at clapping Sir Knight and Princess Gwen” the deep rumbling voice came from just off the path. Gwen and Jonathan almost jumped out of their hair at the voice. They landed on the other side of the path looking for the voice. There sitting on a stump next to the church was what could only be a wizard. His long robe reached his sandaled feet. His white hair was long as was his pointed beard and his staff was tall and crocked at the end and singed at the tip as though much fire had come from it. And his robe was covered with mythical and colorful symbols like stars and moons and mysterious runes that the children could not know.
“Why did you call me Sir Knight?” Jonathan asked shyly. “I am just a little boy.”
“Yes good Jonathan.” The kindly grandfatherly figure said with a smile. “Come close children, I am Merlin, you called for me. I come to give you the most powerful word in the universe.” Gwen and Jonathan were drawn to the feet of the wizard. “You see yourself as a child Jonathan. But Merlin can see beyond today to a world only a few years away. I can see for who you will become. For buried inside of you is the greatness you will grow in to. And inside this little boy Jonathan is a wonderful Knight who will serve his king and his Lord Jesus mightily not so many years from now.”
“But how can you see us as we will be?” Gwen asked gazing wide eyed as the magical man.
“Because I see you as God sees you, Princess Gwen.” Merlin explained. “I see you for what God created you to be and a princess and a mighty knight you will be, if you serve Jesus every day as you grow up.” The children smiled and blushed getting goose bumps thinking of themselves as God sees them.
“But did you say you were going to give us the most powerful magic ever?” Jonathan said with a voice full of wonder and excitement.
“Yes but first some lesser magic.” The wizard said with a wry grin. At that, he lifted his staff to the sky, exclaimed words the children could not understand and his clenched fist sprang open and sparks and tiny fires burst on the stones of the path in front of the children. Jonathan laughed and clapped and the sage wizard smiled with pleasure at their giggles.
“DO MORE, DO MORE!” The children pleaded.
“I will gladly,” Merlin said clearly having as much fun as the children. “Observe that dog, you know him, all the villagers know him. His name is Buster” Merlin said gesturing to the fluffy dog that was prancing down the path toward the church where he often got fed by the priests. “Watch him walk like a human.” Merlin said in a powerful magician voice. He clapped again and just as though a spell changed Buster into a person, the dog rose up on his hind legs and walked several steps. Merlin clapped again and Buster ran behind him.
The children clapped and giggled seeing the magical Merlin for real doing real magic for them. “Please teach us to be wizards. Teach us the deepest secrets.” They said with happy nagging in their voices.
“All right but you must promise when I teach you the most powerful word in the universe, you will hold it dear in your heart.” The wizard warned them and they jumped and leapt about like silly children, which they were, and promised and promised and promised. Then Merlin made them sit at his feet and whispered to them.
“The deep dark secret is this children…” he said gazing into their trusting eyes. “The tricks you saw are not magic at all. Anyone can do them.” And at that, he opened his hand to show them some tiny white crystals. “These are sulfur crystals. They easily burst into flames and they are how I made the ‘magic’ flames appear.”
“But what about Buster?” Gwen objected. “You made him walk.”
“Princess Gwen, the secret of magic is there is no source of power in the universe except that which comes from God. You will be powerful in your knowledge of spiritual power when you learn the word at which every knee shall bow and every spiritual being, demon and angel kneel and worship. Now watch.” And he whistled and buster came to him. He held his hand above the happy dog and opened it showing he had a treat which buster was begging for. Merlin dropped the treat in his mouth after Buster danced on his toes giving a show that made the children laugh and clap all over again. “When Buster walked for us earlier, he ran behind me to get his treat.” Merlin explained.
“See children, these are harmless tricks but there is no spiritual power that can do mighty works except those which God can do. And that is the powerful word you will now know. This word gives God’s children the power to do powerful things in His name. Just listen to the holy words about this amazing word.” And Merlin produced a big black book from his satchel.
“I wonder if that is the book of spells.” Jonathan whispered but then Merlin read.
“They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” He read and the children just gasp with awe at the power of the word.
“Tell us the word, Merlin. Please, please, please, please., please.” The children begged and then he turned the pages of the book. As he lifted the book to read it, Gwen made out the title. It was “The Holy Bible” and then Merlin read.
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;” and then he closed the book. “The name of Jesus is the most powerful word in the universe Children. With it we can heal the sick, cast out evil and become friends with God. And being a friend with God is even better than meeting King Arthur, isn’t it children.
“Yes Merlin” the children answered in awe.
“But what can we do, Merlin?” Jonathan said confused. “We are just children.”
“Obey Jesus, Children.” Merlin instructed. “Go to church and Sunday School every week. That is where you will learn how to use the name of Jesus. Pray and ask your parents and teachers and pastor to teach you everything about God and Jesus and the Bible and you will become powerful servants able to do mighty works, in the name of Jesus. And it can all start today, just inside this tiny church. That is where the power is Sir Knight and Princess Gwen. Do you want it?”
“YES’ and they ran to the church door and pulled it open. Just before they went in Gwen stopped.
“Wait we forgot to thank him.” And they both looked back. But the powerful wizard was gone. All that remained was a whirling smoke that curled around the stump where he sat and Buster was dancing and barking happily on his hind legs like a human.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” [Romans 1:16-17]