In 1991, my wife and I had decided that the very large church we had given several years of our life to was no longer where we should be. Correction, actually, we had given those years to God and His service, and now it was time to move on. In this same church, a lot of people had been hurt and had found themselves disappointed in God and disgusted in man.
New churches were formed from this experience and we for a time joined ourselves to one of those communities of faith and many of the members were those who were hurt in the previous church experience.
That same year a movie came out called The Fisher King. You may have seen it. Robin Williams plays a college professor and through a tragic event finds himself homeless and befriended by a character played by Jeff Bridges. A scene from the movie has each of their characters lying on the ground in Central Park in New York as Robin Williams’ character begins to tell the story of the Fisher King written by Richard LaGravenese. I was given the opportunity to share this story with that small congregation in a school cafeteria full of disappointed and wounded people.
I would like to include the story of The Fisher King here as today’s blog.
THE FISHER KING
It begins with the king as a boy, having to spend the night alone in the forest to prove his courage so he can become king.
Now while he is spending the night alone he’s visited by a sacred vision. Out of the fire appears the holy grail, symbol of God’s divine grace. And a voice said to the boy,
“You shall be keeper of the grail so that it may heal the hearts of men.”
But the boy was blinded by greater visions of a life filled with power and glory and beauty.
And in this state of radical amazement he felt for a brief moment not like a boy, but invincible, like God,
… so he reached into the fire to take the grail,
… and the grail vanished,
… leaving him with his hand in the fire to be terribly wounded.
Now as this boy grew older, his wound grew deeper.
Until one day, life for him lost its reason. … He had no faith in any man, not even himself.
… He couldn’t love or feel loved.
… He was sick with experience.
He began to die.
One day a fool wandered into the castle and found the king alone. And being a fool, he was simple minded, he didn’t see a king. He only saw a man alone and in pain. And he asked the king,
“What ails you friend?”
The king replied,
“I’m thirsty. I need some water to cool my throat”.
So the fool took a cup from beside his bed, filled it with water and handed it to the king.
As the king began to drink, he realized his wound was healed. He looked in his hands and there was the holy grail, that which he sought all of his life. And he turned to the fool and said with amazement,
“How can you find that which my brightest and bravest could not?”
And the fool replied,
“I don’t know. I only knew that you were thirsty.”
End of Story.
Would you allow me to encourage you to Hope today? Not for glory, power and beauty. But to Hope for the opportunity to find one who is thirsty and offer them water and heal their wound.