What is faith? One definition of faith is this:
“strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.”
I think that’s a bunch of bunk. It’s a textbook definition for sure, but it lacks any life. It leaves faith within the bounds of the mind. Faith is so much more.
This week has been a challenging week.
I have wept for the children, asylum seekers, who have very little hope of ever being reunited to their families. And what was this policy all about? Zero Tolerance. That’s not what following Jesus is about. That’s not what this country is about. Zero Tolerance is heartless as we have seen. It is cold. It is merciless. It is dehumanizing. It is wrong.
I spent time with a family who yesterday was informed that their son died. I have wept with them. There is bad theology out there and I heard it on display regarding this young man’s death. It would be disrespectful to give details, so I will say this — Bad theology is heartless, cold, merciless, dehumanizing, and wrong. In response, I read the family Romans 8:35–39.
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There is nothing that can separate us from God’s promise — nothing. There is nothing that we can do, and nothing that we can be that can separate us from God’s love and God’s promise. God loves you. God loves all of God’s children.
I spent time with a family who is homeless and in need of getting some laundry done. The amazing thing is hearing this family tell me about a ministry they are involved with that serves the needs of others by getting people cleaning supplies and hygiene products. That is amazing. Think about that — A homeless family serving others. Not comfortable, not well off. Homeless. And they serve because they it’s the right thing to do and because of what God has done for them.
I spent time with a woman who needed someone to talk with. Who felt alone. I listened. And I shared with her good news — she is not alone. No matter what is going on, she is never alone.
I spent time with a group of people this week who made an important decision about ministry. It was an inspiring time, where the Spirit flowed freely through everyone. A huge blessing came in the form of one woman’s son who came — not a “regular” church goer, but he was drawn in by the idea of the ministry and offered his services and contacts. It was a miracle in our midst.
Faith is so much more than a strong belief in God or doctrines. It flows through our very being. It shows itself in the words that are used, in how our time is spent, in how we are a presence to others. Faith comes through families and individuals who are homeless and poor and have very little. I see it often, it is the same story over and over — those that have little are very generous with what they have. Why is so difficult for those that are comfortable to take their faith more seriously or to be more generous with what they have?
Faith asks us difficult questions and won’t let us off the hook with easy answers or distractions. Faith makes us uncomfortable and is inconvenient. Faith opens our eyes in a way that we can’t unsee injustice once we know it is there — we have to act in response.
Faith is a mystery that gives us hints from time to time. Faith is something that makes us weep for joy and sorrow. Faith keeps us going when it would be so much easier to just give up. Faith is God tapping us on the shoulder and whispering in our ear — “you are not alone.” Faith is lived. It’s not only knowledge. It is lived. It is experienced. It transforms your very being. Faith is the most precious gift of all. Use it wisely. It isn’t rare and limited. Throw it around and use it. Share it. People need it. God has plenty to give.
That’s what faith is.
Originally published at laceduplutheran.com on June 29, 2018.