Cut from the Sermon: Indiana Jones and the Leap of Faith

This past Sunday, I preached on doubt. More specifically, I preached on ways to accept and walk with doubt, rather than trying to shove it away. Near the end of the sermon I spoke about the need to walk in trust (rather than trying to force oneself to believe). I was going to use a scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade to illustrate the point, but I ended up replacing it with a more everyday example. I’m sure the scene has been overused in sermons (I’ve heard it used before, and Anne says she’s heard it used at least twice) but I don’t care – if it’s used a lot, it’s because it is a good illustration of walking in faith. Here’s the scene, followed by the passage from my sermon where I talked about it:

Trust is about choosing to act even if we’re not certain of the outcome. Walking in trust leads to a sight of the truth. There’s a scene from the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade that I think illustrates this well, so apologies if you haven’t seen the film, because I’m about to give away a key part of the plot. Near the end of the movie, Indy must pass through several tests to reach the Holy Grail, and he knows that one will be a “leap from the lion’s mouth.” With his father close to death and the grail the only hope to save him, Indy rushes through a doorway below a carved lion’s head – and finds himself standing right on the edge of an enormous canyon. On the opposite wall is a doorway – but in between is nothing but air. What can he do? With no other options, and time running out, he does the only thing he can do – he steps out into that chasm. And his foot hits solid ground. The camera pans down and reveals a bridge across the canyon – perfectly camouflaged to look like the opposite wall of the canyon.

Now, I don’t want to press an example from an eighties action movie too far, but think for just a second what Indy could have done. Knowing that this was a test of faith, he could have stood there and tried as hard as he could to believe that there was a way across. He could have yelled at himself for not going to church more often, for not listening to his believing father. And none of it would have done any good. The only thing that made it possible for him to really believe was for him to take that first step. And then it wasn’t a matter of forced belief – he knew the bridge was there, because he was standing on it.

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