In the morning the three companions prepared themselves for adventure––polished their armor, saw to the sharpness of their swords, and chose their spears with care that the grain of the ash was straight and balanced, for on these things life and victory depend. And when they mounted and rode toward the Forest of Arrow, which stood up darkly in the distance, Sir Gawain asked,
“Sir, do you know the forest? What adventures may we hope to find?”
“I do not know it,” said Marhalt. “If I did, it would not be adventure.”
––John Steinbeck, The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights
When I came across this passage this week, I couldn’t help but smile at Sir Marhalt’s reply. The way that he looks at the unknown forest, and embraces it as a necessary ingredient to his quest for adventure––this is the stance becoming of a knight. As I thought about that, it occurred to me how much like life that dark forest is. After all, even the most keen sighted of us can see only a little ways into the woods of our future.
But it wasn’t keen sight that steeled Marhalt’s courage; it was his morning preparation. The polishing of armor, the sharpening of swords, the careful selection of spears that were true––these were the things on which victory would hinge. And that brings me to our passage for this Sunday, which I’ll give to you in the old King James translation, with its more gallant wording…
The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
––from Romans 13:11-14
This is one of those passages that I like to think of as an Awaken flag verse, and I have to tell you, I’m restless with anticipation to show you what’s in it. So join me this Sunday! Although the challenge you hear may not feel too safe, like Marhalt’s forest, it will promise adventure.
Pastor Daren Redekopp