What Little Red Riding Hood Can Teach Us About the Gospel

Little Red Riding Hood is sent by her mother to deliver a basket of goodies to grandma. Although the story begins with a mission there is as yet no plot, no impediment or complication, which prevents the mission from being completed. Enter the Big Bad Wolf. Little Red Riding Hood now needs help in carrying out her mission. So we have a helper (really a second agent), the woodsman,whose task is to aid Little Red Riding Hood by removing the impediment by killing the Big Bad Wolf who has swallowed grandma. But the removal of the impediment is not yet the end of the story. The story reaches its goal only when the mission is finally completed. Since the story began with Little Red Riding Hood trying to deliver the basket of goodies to her grandma, the story properly ends only when Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother, and now also the woodsman, have a picnic together.

According to the traditional gospel in which the total mission of Christ is to die on the cross to forgive our sins, the Little Red Riding Hood story ought to end with the death of the Big Bad Wolf and the rescue of Little Red Riding Hood and her grandma. The biblical gospel, however, ends where the Red Riding Hood tale ends, with the completion of the mission and the fulfillment of the condition envisioned by God.
(adapted from Richard J. Middleton, "A New Heavens and a New Earth," 57-58)


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