Only the Penitent

I’ve been wanting to do this one for some time now. Sometime back, I made reference to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It’s a wonderful scene towards the end of the movie where Indy, his father and the rest along with the Nazi’s are  in the cavern, trying to enter into the tunnel which leads to the cup of Christ, the Holy Grail. Each person who enters in, leaves minus a head. They can’t even get through the first level without loosing their heads.

And so, Indy goes in. His dad is the expert about the Holy Grail. His dad studied and studied about the Holy Grail. And his father instructed Indy in all that he knew. And so, Indy is forced to walk through this tunnel of head lopping in order to retrieve the Holy Grail.

There’s a hint in how to enter the tunnel. Only the penitent man shall pass. That has so much wrapped up into it. Only the penitent man shall pass. According to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary penitent means one who is expresses humility and/or sorrow for sins committed.Traditionally, the idea of being penitent is to have a regretful pain and sorrow for sins that have been committed towards someone or towards God.

Okay, all the Word Nerd stuff out of the way.

One of the things that always got me about this scene in The Last Crusade is that Indiana Jones actually remembered something his father taught him. All throughout the movie, he kept telling people that this was his father’s area, not his. Yet when it came time, he remembered what his father had said. And this, well, it saved his life.

A penitent man kneels.

That’s the second thing I find interesting in this scene. The fact that in order to save one’s life from flying saw blades (that are way beyond the technology of the crusades) one must humble oneself. This can only be done by kneeling. True humility is acknowledging that you are dependent on something else to be alive. Of course here the trust is in the three brothers who set up these traps in the first place.

But penitents is more than that. It is more than kneeling to avoid flying saw blades (which, by the way, are way ahead of their time… just sayin’). It is kneeling out of remorse for one’s sins. That is why a penitent man was supposed to kneel. To ask for forgiveness. In The Last Crusade, one kneeled so not to be killed. They were unwilling to seek forgiveness. But in real life, we kneel, not just physically, but spiritually.

We kneel remorseful for we see just how great our guilt is. That is, we see how we’ve messed up. We see how we’ve done wrong, done other’s wrong, done ourselves wrong, and done God wrong.

When we kneel, we are able to also see something else. In order for Indy to see the coming saw blade, he had to look up. If he hadn’t’ve looked up, then he wouldn’t’ve ducked. We need to look up, to look up at God who is smiling down on us, receiving us through Jesus Christ. We look up as he sends down his grace upon us.

But we can’t look up unless we kneel first, in penitents.

So, where do you need to kneel? Where’ve you messed up and need forgiveness? Kneel down, look up and God will smile down his grace through Jesus.

Way to spiritual right now for a Friday…luckily I have rhubarb coffee cake. But that’s another post.

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