Indiana Jones and his dad are out there searching for the Holy Grail, the cup used at the last supper. On reaching the caves where this is hidden Indy discovers that he must pass three tests to get to the cup and save his father.
Humility, the name of God and steps of faith. Three vital things in life. In this case they are three tests, in life itself, we might call them crucial priorities. Following Jesus has always been a strange mixture of hope and challenge. Comfort and discovery. Steps of reassurance and steps into the unknown. ‘Step out of the traffic, take a good long look at me, discover the unforced rhythms of grace. Take up my approach and my ways of living, for they are good. My burdens are light.’ But he also says, ‘Take up your cross and follow me.’ Both and. One with the other. Hope and challenge. Compassion and justice. Truth and love. There is a lovely verse in Psalm 85 which sums this up. ‘Wisdom and mercy have embraced. Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed!’ Jesus brings together these aspects of full life. ‘Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven.’ Psalm 85 goes on. A cross rises from the dust, fulfilling the promise of new life, on earth as in heaven.
Indy is on his way to finding life and healing for his father, but it involves stepping across a valley. Keeping going though the way is uncertain. Though he is afraid and learning as he goes. We face these valleys and need help to keep going. We need wisdom and mercy, love and truth to help us. Winston Churchill famously said, ‘When you’re going through hell… keep going.’ Lord, please help us, today, tomorrow, and the day after that. Amen.
Good News Bible has this for v, 11: ‘Man’s loyalty will reach up from the earth, and God’s righteousness will look down from heaven’.