In Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis Gregor Samsa awakes from some "unsettling dreams" to find himself "changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin." Gregor is now a bug and must now live out this reality. As we gather from the proceeding narrative this change was not unrelated to how he perceived himself before this occurrence both at his work and at home with his sister and parents. However, one morning things were entirely different.
It took some time to realize the similarities with the sermon I preached this past Sunday. It was on three parables (Matthew 13:44-50). The parables are about conversion and judgment. In the first two parables treasure is found. The one who finds the treasure sells all to obtain it. The third parable is about the end of the age when angels are sent out to judge between righteousness and wickedness. Kafka's work was a confirmation of the reality of conversion, a term that is almost entirely unpopular. Kafka reminds us that perhaps conversion is not a one-way street and that there may be a downward conversion or anti-conversion. Our existence is always in movement. Some conversions have been sought and received and perhaps others have been the result of a mid-life realization that one's youth and vision has been utterly replaced. If we do not place ourselves before the transcendent Giver then we will remain subject the forces of existential gravity.