Courage to Leap Into Darkness

Courange to Leap Into Darkness


Matthew 13:31-35 NLT

31 Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

Parable of the Yeast

33 Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”

34 Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables. 35 This fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet:

    In Stephen King’s movie “The Mist,” horrifying monsters prowl a dense fog that descends on a town in Maine. A few survivors hunker down in a grocery store which they fortify in an attempt to keep the beasts out. When a mother demands to leave so she can rescue her children, the protagonist, a father, argues that going outside is certain death. The woman goes anyway. After the creatures begin to breach their barricades, the father, his son, and two others escape in a car. Some  time later, they run out of gas while their vehicle is butted by abominations, some gigantic, all grotesque. One of the car’s occupants has a pistol with three bullets and, after glimpsing one particularly nasty creature, everyone agrees that a shot in the head is more merciful than what the monsters would do to them. The father kills his son. Two others kill themselves, and then to the father’s shock, the fog lifts, a relief column of trunks drives by and he sees the mother with her children on back of one of them. If the father had only waited three more minutes, his son and companions would have been saved, but how could he know?
    The spiritual truth about profound risk taking is that we never know. Even Jesus sweats blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, because letting himself be crucified seems an excruciating dead end.
    In the early 1970’s Leonard Bernstein composed a dramatic oratorio, Mass, for the inauguration of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., the work begins with the main figure the Celebrant, preparing for the liturgy with a prayer that cries out for something unexpected: simplicity. “Sings God a simple song. . .God loves all simple things. For God is the simplest of all.”
    God is simple in that all he requires of us is to love our fellow human beings, and in so doing we love God. The courage to really care for one another without judgment is a leap into darkness.
    Fr. Henri Nouwen sums it up:
“Underneath all our emphasis on successful action, many of us suffer from a deep-seated, low self-esteem. . . . And so our actions become more an expression of fear than of inner freedom. . . .
As we keep our eyes directed at the One who says, ‘‘Do not be afraid,” we may slowly let go of our fear. We will learn to live in a world without zealously defended borders. We will be free to see the suffering of other people, free to respond not with defensiveness, but with compassion, with peace, with ourselves.======================
Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min.,, D.S.T.
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164

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