Year A, Pentecost 5
“Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” is a classic Gothic horror story of a kind very popular in the Victorian era. Written by Robert Louis Stevenson, it is the tale of Dr Jekyll, a kind, well-respected scientist who meddles with the darker side of science as he wants to bring out his “second” nature. He does this by using drugs to transform himself into Mr Hyde – his evil “alter ego” who is his exact opposite in every way; who does not repent or accept responsibility for his evil ways and foul crimes. Jekyll tries to control him, and for a while is successful, but more and more Hyde takes over and finally brings about the death of both.
So, a major theme of this story is the duality of human nature, good vs evil in the soul; something of which most of us have been aware at some time, though it seems, sadly, it is the most conscientious who are the most sensitive to it:
“And they who fain would serve Thee best
Are conscious most of sin within.”
The Apostle Paul was aware of the same duality, as he confesses to the Romans: “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. . . . Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
It is a mystery to us that, though Christ Himself declared from the Cross that the work of salvation is finished, we must go on fighting the evil within and without at least until the end of this present life. But the Good News is that we no longer have to fight alone. The Holy Spirit is with us, bringing all the power of God to our aid. Remember Paul’s great metaphors – the soldier equipped with the whole armour of God; the athlete putting aside every hindrance and straining every nerve to reach the finish line? Mr Hyde will never win, if we remember that we are already on the winning side.