Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Dear Family and Friends of Linwood,
Let’s start with the good news! We are one week closer to the next Linwood season. In fact, we are closer to the 2014 season than ever before! The bad news is that the ground hog saw his shadow and we have 5-1/2 weeks of winter to go between now and then. However, that gives us some time to anticipate and prepare for what I believe to be a very important time together.
Faith, Family, and Friends is our theme song for the 2014 season at Linwood.
Let’s start at the beginning and think about faith. Faith is one of the “big three” virtues of Christianity. Faith, hope and love are eternal (see I Corinthians 13). These are three things that we all would profess to value and embrace, but we would also probably find hard to define or explain.
What do you have when you have faith?
What is given away when you share faith?
What makes faith so powerful?
What can threaten or diminish faith?
What kind of faith is blind?
Does faith always call for a leap, or just a little jump?
Good questions! Right?
Here are a few things that are important to keep in mind when we consider matters of faith:
1) Faith must have an object. We must have faith in something or someone. We can have faith in a chair (that it will support us when sit in it). We can faith in our spouse (that they will make choices and decisions that will honor us and be for our good). We can have faith in a religion, or god, or philosophy of life (that this religion or god will give our life meaning, purpose, and hope).
2) Faith is only as good as it’s object. We can have faith in a chair, but if it is rickety, we will eventually wind up on the floor. And so on…
3) The strength of our faith does not compensate for the deficiencies of the object of that faith. Charlie Brown can have enormous faith in the Great Pumpkin, but if GP does not show up year after year, that faith is of little value. How many times have you heard “It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere” (especially about religious matters)? That is rubbish!
4) It is good for faith to be reasoned and tested! Blind faith is indeed a stab in the dark. Just because your parents believed it, or someone else advocates it, or you read it on the Internet (!), does not make it true. The Bible calls for us to examine our faith and to test our faith. We do not need to throw our brains out the window to have faith in God, the Father of Christ.
5) Doubt does not have to be the opposite of faith. Faith is meant to grow and deepen, a process that can only happen when we question and search. Doubt does not have to be disbelief; it can be “faith seeking understanding.”
6) Faith in God is, by it’s very nature, faith in something (actually someone) that is beyond all human understanding. Any “god” that we can fully understand and embrace is not big enough to be God. There will always be a transcendence and a mystery about God. Thus, for Christians faith is always a leap – not blind leap – but a leap nonetheless. There are things I believe and understand. There are also things I believe (really important things like the Trinity) and only slightly understand. Again, who wants a god no bigger than their brainpower!
7) A choice not to have faith in God through Christ is also a faith decision! It is betting your life that there is someone or something else that is the creator of the universe and gives purpose to all that has been fashioned.
How is your faith?
Deep? Lively? Probing? Tested? Filled with wonder and mystery? Growing?
I am sure that all of have a ways to go on our faith journeys. But there are no more exciting, challenging, or meaningful journeys that we can ever take.
Yours in Christ,
Hu Auburn, Linwood Park Pastor
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