Tag Archives: Indiana Jones

The Search for the Holy Grail

Read 1 Corinthian 11:17-34

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26 CEB)

The HolyGrailI just recently watched the film, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” This has always been my favorite of the four films because it deals with Indiana Jones’ quest to find the Holy Grail. While I am sure most of you know what the Holy Grail is, for those of you who don’t the Holy Grail is the cup of which Jesus Christ and the Twelve Apostles drank from during the Last Supper. Indiana’s father (played by Sean Connery) had been searching for the Grail his whole life, but when he gets close to finding it he disappears. Indiana then picks up where is father left off in order to not only find the Grail but to also find his father.

Before embarking on the quest, Indy turns to his friend, Marcus Brody, and asks him if he thinks there is actually any truth to the legend of the Holy Grail. Marcus responded, “The search for the Holy Grail is the search for the divine in all of us.” This statement hit me in a way it never really did before. I think as a younger person, I never fully understood the profound implication of that statement; yet, as a grown adult and a trained theologian, the proclamation is actually a revelation of the nature of who we are in Christ Jesus. This is not just some Hollywood-contrived revelation, but is a revelation we find throughout the Bible.

When we think of the Holy Grail, we think of the Last Supper, we think of the Knights of the Round Table, we think of Indiana Jones, we think of Monty Python, and some may even think of Dan Brown’s controversial work of fiction, “The Da Vinci Code.” Almost always, the Holy Grail is thought of as an object, as the cup that held the wine (aka blood) of Jesus Christ. In the case of the Indiana Jones film, the cup itself was holy and had magical powers of healing and rejuvenation as a result of Christ using it it in such a holy moment in history. In books like the Da Vinci Code, the Holy Grail is a woman (going back to Mary Magdalene) who carried on the bloodline of Jesus Christ. Again, like the cup, the woman is merely important because she’s bearing the bloodline of Jesus.

What I noticed was that, when thinking of the Holy Grail, we tend to lose the bigger picture for the smaller details. We lose the significance of the Holy Grail when we cheapen it to being a “cup” or a “womb” or anything else. Marcus Brody points us to a deep truth when he says, “The search for the Holy Grail is the search for the divine in all of us.” Indeed. Jesus didn’t hold The Last Supper in order to turn a cup into an idol. Also, to get caught up in the “married Jesus” debate is to completely miss the entire point of Jesus ministry and the Last Supper.

In the act of “eating his flesh” and “drinking his blood”, the disciples are taking Jesus into themselves and making him a part of their own identity. In other words they, in that sacred moment and from that time forward, become the Holy Grail…bearing the grace and the love of Jesus to all the world. Just as Jesus was the Son of God, we who believe in Christ and partake in Holy Communion as a public profession of our faith, take on the identity of sons and daughters of God. I am sure some of my Protestant brothers and sisters might be questioning if I am taking Communion a little too literally. While I am not, I would say that to question that is to miss the truth of the above.

Whether we believe in Transubstantiation, Consubstantiation, or we believe that the Sacrament of Holy Communion is a symbol of God’s grace and forgiveness for us, the fact remains that Holy Communion is a reminder that we are called to be the Holy Grails of Christ. We are called to be the vessels that bear Christ’s love in the world. We are called to be Sacramental and to be transformational. We are called to be agents of Christ’s grace and witnesses to the presence of God. Remember this the next time you partake in communion and be transformed.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY “The search for the Holy Grail is the search for the divine in all of us.” – Marcus Brody in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”.

PRAYER Lord, I am your vessel fill me with your grace so that I may bear witness to your grace in the lives of others. Amen.

Extreme Faith

Read Genesis 22:1-19

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:20)

indyOne of my favorite movies growing up was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Though I love all of the Indy movies, this one has always had a profound impact on me, especially on my understanding of faith. The story follows Indy on an adventure to save his dad; however, little does he know that this rescue mission will not only be about rescuing his father, but also rescuing his faith; he’s journey, over time, become a soul-searching quest.

In one scene, Indy finds himself standing at the edge of an abyss. He is facing a test unlike any other he had ever been challenged with. He quickly realized that the only way across was to take the proverbial leap of faith. The only problem was that the leap was about the length of a football field, if not longer. How is that humanly possible? How can anyone hope to get across such a huge abyss? Surely it is absurd to believe he could actually do it.

Yet, Indy must take that leap as his father’s life is bleeding out onto the cavern floor. He has to reach the Holy Grail, with the hope that the fabled treasure will restore his father’s life. Slowly, Indy places his hand over his chest as if to try and calm his heartbeat.  Could he really go through with this. All reason points to him plummeting to his death. Yet, he raises his right leg and lets his weight fall forward. As he falls forward, his foot lands on an invisible walkway. Indy has passed the test.

As Christians, we often take our faith for granted. We say we believe in God, we say we believe in miracles, and we even say that we KNOW that God exists and that miracles happen; however, if we truly KNEW such things, would we really need faith? If Indy knew that the walkway existed, would he have had to calm his heartbeat? All that Indy thought he knew was that he was bound to plummet to his death.

Christ calls us to be a people of faith. Like Abraham, who did not know God was going to stop him from sacrificing Isaac, like the prophets who didn’t know if they would survive proclaiming God’s judgment to the kings of Israel, just like Jesus who faced the gulf of the unknown in the olive garden, just like the disciples who did not know what fate awaited them in foreign lands, we too are called to live a life of extreme faith.

Søren Kierkegaard, once said that the faithful are like those who are suspended over 70,000 fathoms of water and yet they still have faith and are joyful. Why? Because, though it might be absurd to have faith in the midst of such uncertainty, they trust that God will come through. It may be absurd to the rest of the world, but the person of faith holds onto that absurdity in faith. I challenge you to be a people who have such trust in God. I challenge you to be living examples of extreme faith, to be tiny mustard seeds that move the mountains and shake the foundations of the earth.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

“If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe.” – Søren Kierkegaard

PRAYER

Lord, help me to grow in my faith so that I may be equipped with your grace, enough to move the mountains with your hope, healing and wholeness. Amen.

The Holy Grail

Read 1 John 4:11-21

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12, NRSV).

The HolyGrailHave you ever seen the film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? In the story we learn that Indy, as he is affectionately called, always wanted a relationship with his father who was always too busy studying lore on the Holy Grail to pay much attention to his son.  Thus, the two grew a part from each other. Through the course of the film, Indy rescues his dad and discovers the place that the Grail is hidden.  During the adventurous race to reach this place, the father and son are brought closer together than they ever had been. It was a frustrating process, with the two bickering back and forth; however, slowly but surely the two began to bond in a way they had never predicted.

Upon reaching the place where the Grail supposedly was, Indy’s dad was shot by Nazis in an attempt to get Indy to go through a series of tests and acquire the Grail. To make a long story short, Indy is able to retrieve the cup and is able to save his father’s life; however, in the process the Grail falls into the hands of the woman who betrayed them and, as she tries to carry it out of the temple, an earthquake occurs causing the floor to crack open and the Grail to fall into the crack.

Indy attempts to reach the fabled artifact, which is lying on a ledge.  If he could only reach another inch or two he could have the very thing his father had been looking for his whole life.  But there, in the moment, a voice called out to Indy. “Let it go,” the voice cried! “Indiana, let it go.” The voice was that of Indy’s father, who was holding his one arm in order to keep him from falling. At that point, Indy heeded his father’s advice and he reached up with his other hand and was pulled to safety. The two rode off into the sunset, realizing that the true treasure was the gift of having each other.

The point in recounting this tale is that it parallels our experience in this world. We often are trying to attain things that seem so important to us that we fail to see what the true treasure of our lives is.  As a result we get ourselves into places where we feel lost and alone.  We find ourselves dangling on the edge of despair, hoping that if we reach just a little bit farther we can get what it is we are looking for. But what is it, exactly, that we are looking for?

We grasp for success, for money, for status, for fame and for other things all in the hope that we can be assured we are not alone. We seek to be loved and accepted by someone, by anyone who will give us that acceptance.  Yet, in those pursuits we find ourselves, like Indy and his dad, more alone and separated than we ever could have imagined.  If we would only pause a moment and listen, we would hear the voice of God calling out to us, “My Child, let it go.” If we would only listen to the voice of God, we would let go of what we are grasping for and grab the truth that we are not alone.

How is it that we are we not alone? How does God end up fulfilling the promise given to us throughout all of Scripture? Take a look around you. Do you see the people who surround you? Do you feel the love of those who have invested themselves in you? Do you recognize the strangers who have been hospitable to you? If so, then you have experienced the presence of God in your life. You need look no further. You need only to let go of the straws you are grasping for and embrace the true treasure that God has placed in your life, the treasure of relationships. Fear not, for you are not alone!

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” – Jesus of Nazareth, (Matthew 18:20)

PRAYER

Lord, help me to let go of all of the things that take me away from the true treasure of your presence through relationships. Amen.