Thursday, June 22, 2006

Fiction often tells a true story

I have always been a great fan of Indiana Jones. I think I only saw the first two on video, having been born just too late to see them 'live' at the cinema (so too with the original Star Wars), but I managed to see the Last Crusade live and loud. I enojoyed the thrill of following Indy in his search for The Holy Grail. The good guys want if for its historic and spiritual significance. The bad guys want it because it offers eternal life.
Jesus used parables to make a point, so let’s use our modern fiction to tell a true story.
John 6: 53-59 quotes Jesus as saying that if we partake in communion, if we eat his flesh and drink his blood then we will remain in Him as He remains in us, so that we will have eternal life.
I say this to myself during communion. It is the one verse or passage of all the references to Holy Communion that makes the most sense to me. It is a promise from Jesus.
Jesus makes this promise, and I hold onto that promise even when I am feeling far away from God. It doesn’t say that we need to be particularly faithful or even obedient. All it says is that we need to believe that communion is a link to Christ. His body and blood for us. If we do that then He is with us. We get eternal life.
The infamous Da Vinci Code poses the idea that the Holy Grail (or sangreal) is rather the Sang Real or Blood Royal. This fiction poses the idea that the Holy Grail is a descendent of Christ.
There is a certain amount of intrigue and drama in the idea that somewhere out there, a descendent of Jesus might be walking around. What would they look like? What would they be like? What does it feel like to know that you are a descendent of the Son of God? Its an amazing thought, we get all tingly at the idea. Ooh… what if… what if… This excitement has in no small way has earned Mr. Brown an enormous sum of money and a global following, regardless of whether it has any truth, or whether he nicked the idea off someone else or not.
In Romans 8: 12-17, Paul says that the work of the Spirit is to adopt us as children, sons and daughters, of God, brothers and sisters of Christ.
I had a look on the UK government's websites to find out about the legalities of adoption. I initially tried to find out if the Queen could adopt someone. Unfortunately no-one seems to have thought of that little predicament, but I did find a statement on one of the websites devoted to the ins and outs of adoption. “Your child becomes a full member of your family; he takes your surname and assumes the same rights and privileges as if he had been born to you, including the right of inheritance.” Department for Education and Skills
According to British law, if you are adopted by someone, you become their child. It is legally as if you were born to them. Paul uses this concept in Romans 8. We are heirs of God, co-heirs with Christ. I don't think that God is beholden to British law, but we can use this concept as Paul did. We are heirs to God, we are His children.
Since God doesn’t have physical blood, the stuff that gives God life is Spirit. If we are adopted by the Spirit and if Christ remains in us, then we too have life by the Spirit. We therefore have the same ‘blood’ running through our veins.
We are descendents of God, we have ‘Royal Blood’ that gives us life. This 'Royal Blood' is the Spirit that adopts us, that speaks to God for us, that leads us gently into God's presence and guides us towards finding the truth that God, through Christ, offers us.
We are all examples of this Holy Grail.
We have eternal life, and we are God’s children. Whether you prefer Spielberg's Indiana Jones or Dan Brown's Robert Langdon, we as Christians fulfill the criteria for the Holy Grail.
The idea of the Holy Grail stirs that part of us that longs to go on a treasure hunt. We all have a little bit inside that wants to run off and find adventure. That is why adventure stories are so popular. We get to be treasure hunters with Indiana, sail the seas and fight pirates with Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow, we get to hunt through the city of Paris looking for conspiracies and intrigue with Robert Langdon.
So lets use the adventure, the sense of excitement to remind ourselves about who we are in Christ. We have this opportunity to tell others about the great life that is available for everyone who sees God as Father. We have in essence completed the quest, the Holy Grail has been found and is across the world in Christians everywhere.
Jesus tells us in Matthew how to be children of God.
Matthew 5: 43-45a "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may children of your Father in heaven."
If we want to act like the descendents of Christ then this is our task. Love those who we have hurt us. Repay anger and violence with understanding and peace. If someone is mean to us, hurts us, betrays us or ruins our dreams, our immediate response is to lash out; this is our human response. Children of God are children of love. Desmond Tutu talks about peace as being a long hard struggle. The road to peace is paved with tiny gestures that build trust. A collection of moments when we decide not to act in anger, but to turn the other cheek. Children of God love their enemies, they listen to the unspoken cry, they see the same reaction in others that they are choosing against within themselves. All people need to be understood in their moments of hurt. If we want to be a child of God we will seek out those hurts in others and see beyond the anger, the betrayal, even the violence. This is love.

The Spirit adopts us as children of God, brothers and sisters of Christ. Even though we may dismiss the possibility of there being a descendent of Jesus, the idea that the Holy Grail is a person is quite helpful. What is more powerful than a person living as God's child. The Spirit comes and empowers us to be God's children. We are all Holy Grails, filled with Christ's 'blood', giving eternal life to our world through God's love in our lives.


Blogger Gus said...

are you saying that Dan Brown is my dad?

7:23 am  

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