Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe. – Saint Augustine
In the final of the Indiana Jones adventure series: “The Last Crusade,” our protagonists were in search of the Holy Grail; the cup that Christ used at the Last Supper as He changed bread and wine into His body and blood. As always the forces of good and evil vie for the most coveted archeological prize. Jones and His cohorts seek to preserve the grail for posterity. Their adversaries seek to pervert its power for advancing the misguided agenda of the Third Reich.
In the climax, Indiana is forced to enter a cave where research and reason has led both groups. His father lay mortally wounded from a gun shot by their rivals and in need of the healing power of the grail. Those who went before him never advanced any further than the entrance, as one by one the reluctant volunteers lost their heads. Indy, was armed with his father’s research notes and an advantage that his counterparts did not have; faith. Three tests had to be successfully passes to reach the Holy Grail’s location at the end of the gauntlet.
The first test was humility before God. Indy understood the nature of humility, that the others did not. So when he entered the tunnel he dropped to His knees as any should do before God. At that moment two blades swiftly passed through the space above his bowed head. The second test was to walk in the footsteps of God. Each stone square was marked with a letter. As one stepped it had to be upon each stone in the order of the letters spelling God’s name; Yahweh. Yet, When he made the first step his leg went through nearly falling to his death. He then remembered that God’s name was also spelled another way. So he gathered himself up and started with the first letter of the second spelling;” I”. It held and he made his way through the end of the tunnel. At the end of the path he faced what seemed an insurmountable challenge for men of reason alone. The third test in his father’s notes was the leap of faith. What lie before him was the entrance to the location of the Holy Grail. But, there was between him and it a great abyss. The test was not a leap of reason, but one of faith. So, Indy put his hand over his heart and with closed eyes and held breath took one long step out into nothingness. Rather than plummeting into thin air, his foot landed on a solid rock surface. He then crossed what was a camouflaged bridge to the Holy Grail.
Legend was, that who drank from the Grail would be healed and have eternal life. Indy’s arch-enemy and Hitler acolyte was perplexed when he entered the cavern housing the grail after following Indy’s marked trail. For there before them was a great multitude of various cups. So, which was the right one? An ancient keeper and protector of the grail within said to choose wisely. An unwise choice meant death not life. So he made a choice of a gold cup adorned with precious jewels, because he believed it would be fitting for the King of kings. Then dipped the chosen cup into a pool of water and drank. However, the man of reason alone chose poorly. His end came swiftly. Indy, was forced to prove his worthiness by doing the same, in order to be given the right to remove the grail from the room to his ailing father. He, reasoned that Christ being a humble carpenter would not possess such an extravagant cup. So Indy chose one modestly fashioned in wood with a simple gold coating within. He dipped and took a deep breath before drinking. He chose wisely. His reasoning supported by faith made all the difference. Where all else failed. Faith did not. For it is by faith not reason alone that reveals the most elusive of mysteries.
We, too, have our moments of truth. Maybe not as daunting as that in the example above, but challenging none-the-less. Faced with major surgery, a commitment to marry, a first child on the way, beginning a new job or relocating your family would give anyone pause. Most would reasonably set down on paper the pros and cons of any of these endeavors. Yet after that list was completed very likely it would be tossed away. Because in the end we must still decide. No list nor confidant can choose for us. And neither will tip the scale with any certainty of a satisfactory outcome. So one still stands before the door of doubt with but one means to impel its opening; faith.
Indiana had faith because he trusted his father’s notes. And by extension through them had faith in his father. As Indiana, we too can find the faith to see our challenges through. For our faith, as well, comes from an extension. Christ the Son extended from God the Father. In trusting the Son we trust the Father.
Reason can take us to the door of the unknown. Faith gives us confidence in what lies beyond that door.