When I am afraid, I put my trust in you
Do you remember the “trust fall” game you learned when growing up? I never really liked that one and don’t actually recall doing it. But there’s a popular youth group activity called a trust walk. Pairs of people lead each other on a walk or hike—one of the pair is blindfolded, while the other guides with words and gentle touch. The idea is to gain a sense of what it means to truly trust another. When people are given their instructions, you can see that it’s not an easy exercise. Most people want to guide first rather than be dependent on another. Ask them to pair up with a stranger and fears grow exponentially. Even the guide can be nervous, unsure if they’ll be dependable enough to really keep the other person from falling.
There’s a scene from the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” near the end of the movie Indy must pass through several tests to reach the Holy Grail. He knows that one of the tests 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 the chasm. And his foot hits solid ground. The camera pans down and reveals a seemingly invisible bridge across the canyon – perfectly camouflaged to look like the opposite wall of the canyon.
Trust takes courage, and yet, we take on this courageous challenge in many small ways every day. But there is something else in the mix isn’t there! John tells the story of Jesus feeding a huge crowd (John 16ff) …” When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.”
What kind of trust does Jesus expect of the disciples when he asks how they are going to feed the crowd? Philip does the math to figure the logistics of feeding thousands-it can’t be done. Andrew has his doubts too but takes a leap of faith with the help of a young boy who is willing to share. We may have to break a loaf of bread into tiny pieces to feed a hungry crowd. But we should try not do so alone. God’s love is always with us and as long as someone is willing to share and another to lend a hand, things can get accomplished. It does take a leap of faith but while we are quick to doubt, perhaps we should leave open some possibilities in the miracle for collaboration and cooperation.