Cloaked


She sat at the bank of the river, frantically scrubbing the dirty spot on her cloak. Tears coursed down her cheeks as she worked. The stains were unrelenting, no matter how frantically she scrubbed and scrubbed...

and scrubbed. 

The King was coming today. Everyone would be presented before him. Every single soul in the kingdom. She couldn't come before the King in this dirty, stained cloak. It would prove her lowly state, her lack of worth, her carelessness, her mistakes.

These unforgiving stains would prove her shame. 

She stopped scrubbing, clutching her cloak in her hands; hands that were raw from her efforts. Desperation filled her and tears welled at the thought of standing before the King with this dirty cloak covering her. What would he do if he saw her like that?  

What would he say? 

She clutched her dirty cloak close as the tears of hopelessness rolled down her cheeks. This was all her fault. If she had been more careful, if she had watched what she was doing...

if she had done better. 

Maybe she could hide. Maybe when the King came through the city, she could hide away in the darkness, go unnoticed. Surely he wouldn't notice one person missing. Surely he wouldn't miss her presence. The tears traced her cheeks now. If only they could clean the dirt away...remove the stains. 

Suddenly, she felt hands reach down and take hold of hers. She gasped, looking up into eyes like none she had seen before.

"Give me your cloak," the man said softly.

She instantly released the cloak into his hands. He smiled as she let go and she saw more compassion and kindness in his eyes than she had ever witnessed. Then, she watched as he dropped her dirty cloak to the ground and untied his own cloak. He pulled it off, and draped it over her shoulders. It was a beautiful snowy white cloak with gold trim around the edges and thick gold chords to tie it off at the top. It was like none she had ever seen and she knew it's worth was more than she could ever pay.

"W-why are you giving me this?" she rasped out, not understanding why he would give her such a beautiful garment.

"Because mine is unblemished, and yours is not." He said, kneeling down in front of her as he spoke. "You need a clean cloak, to go before the King, do you not?"

She felt no shame at the obvious truth he stated for his eyes revealed a depth of understanding and acceptance she had never seen in anyone else. He smiled at her and something that felt like joy filled her. She hiccuped a cry, overwhelmed at this strangers generosity. He cupped her shoulders then, and helped her rise.

"Who are you?" she asked softly, captivated by the eyes of this man and the warmth of his touch. "How did you know I was here?"

"I heard your cry as I was passing by so I stopped to help you." he responded with a small smile. "I am a servant of the Kingdom." 

"But, I cannot pay for this. I have nothing to give you in return." she whispered, lowering her gaze in shame at her helpless state. With a hand, he raised her chin to look into her eyes again.

"It is a gift. Go, stand before the King, and don't be afraid. Your cloak is white as snow."

 His warm smile felt like sunshine penetrating her skin. She clutched this cloak close over her heart, and stared at this man, this stranger that had just rescued her from her shame. He rubbed a hand over her hair, gave her a gentle nod, and then turned and walked away. She watched him go, as she stood there, covered in his snow white cloak. Tears began to flow again and she let them. This stranger had just restored her dignity. He had given freely to her, someone with nothing to give him in exchange. He had found her, crouched low by the river, scrubbing frantically at the stains on her cloak, and he had rescued her. She rubbed her hand down the side of the cloak, amazed at the quality of it. Never had she owned a cloak so beautiful...so white. She would stand before the King today, and she would be covered in this perfect cloak, the whitest in the land! A tiny laugh escaped as joy flooded her soul. She twirled around, watching the sun glisten off the gold threads of her new cloak. She would stand before the King today and she would be covered in white....

No more stains, no more dirt.

"Jesus, you are the one that carries our sin, our shame, our pain. You take it off of us and give us your peace, your healing, your joy. Because of you, we stand before the throne of God, unblemished. No stains...no dirt." 

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