by MW Cook

About a month back I wrote a short story called Ariel. Out of everything short I’ve written to this date it’s probably favorite piece. It’s very symbolic. Unfortunately it’s rather vague and I never bothered to explain it. I think I’d like to do that now. So here’s the interpretation of my dream.

Ariel is a Hebrew name that means Lion of God. At one point in the Old Testament God laments over his people, calling them Ariel, because they are unfaithful. The narrator represents a spiritual seeker who comes in contact with the established western church, represented by the lady and the house. The woman claims to love her husband (Christ) but it becomes clear that her love is for the house. The first thing she does is makes the man remove his shoes (visible sins or vices) and pile them with the others. The dirty shoes are actually not dealt with, just thrown to the side so they are harder to see. The woman hears the voice of her husband calling her and sets off with the man in a search for him.

The photo room represents all that is prized by the church. An out-of-focus view of Christ may be found if someone digs deep enough.

The kitchen represents the work the church does for Christ. Unfortunately she has made changes. The sink used to flow with living water to refresh the woman, but a useless garden now takes up her time. She used to eat bread and wine, symbolic of communion with Christ, but now the wine is watered down, the bread is unused and she prefers whisky, an intoxicating substitute for the joy that can be found in Christ. Also she refuses to eat meat, symbolic of deep study into the character of God and his Word, preferring water-down milk and bumper-sticker doctrine.

The doctors’ notes are a picture of the messengers Christ has sent ot the church to warn her of her dangerous lifestyle and whorish behaviour. She prostitues herself after anything that is not Christ. The doctors are ignored.

The room where she spends time with her husband is actuall a place for her to be distracted, a picture of how the church no longer seeks Christ himself, but programs and stimilations to fill the gap that seems to exist within her.

The bell tower represents evangelism, a dead art.

And then we get outside. When we look outside we find out something shocking. This woman is not actually Ariel. She’s not actually the church of God. She’s something else. The real church of Christ is outside fighting a perpetual battle against spiritual foes. She is always pressed but sustained by her husband who gives her strength through his words, communion (wine), teaching (meat) and wonder-working power on her behalf (the breath of his nostrils). We also find out that Ariel does not yet have a house, but the lasting house is promised to her once this battle is over.

And then the woman in the house pulls the reader away from the scene and tries to disctract him with anything besides the battle outside, content to dwell in the house that she herself has built.