As I said last Sunday,
being a person of faith can be difficult,
especially when we misunderstand what that means.
In our culture of “get what you want when you want to get it,”
engaging faith can be confusing.
Tag to that a propensity for our minds to think that the theology of the “God wants you to be wealthy” crowd has something to it
or that, for some reason, thinking we deserve this or that,
and we can set ourselves up for problems.
Faith is hard.
I remember when Fr. Rich passed.
Ordained in the Fall and passes a few months later.
Only celebrating one Eucharist.
That was hard for me to swallow.
It didn’t seem fair.
Here is a man who felt he had a call to the priesthood (and he did),
Does all the work for the ordination process (well over three years)
And does not get to live out that calling in the church.
It must have taken a bit of faith for Rich to navigate through all that.
it didn’t seem fair.
When I spoke with a friend of mine about the issue of fairness,
he simply reminded me, “Fairness is an illusion.”
“Fairness is our expectation placed upon the world.”
The way it should be.
The way things should operate.
How the ending of every story should be.
But that isn’t how it works.
We are not God.
And our view of faith can be much the same.
Especially when we don’t get what we think we should.
Or God doesn’t do what we think God should do.
Or our understanding of how life should be doesn’t match reality.
And that can shake us.
But the truth is this:
“Faith is not the belief that God will do a specific thing,
but that God will do.”
In the Gospel reading from this week, Jesus tells His disciples,
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Notice Jesus does not say that God will give us what we want.
Honestly, I think that might be a little scary.
endowed with intelligence and created in God’s image,
making those decisions.
This is what that looks like:
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”Genesis 3:6-7
Like I said,
Adam and Eve.
Created by God.
Placed in paradise.
Provided for without exception.
Making the decision that they know better.
Only they didn’t.
And it cost them.
And it costs us.
So what is it we are called, in faith, to pursue?
Things like this:
·He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”Micah 6:8
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”James 1:19
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”Hebrews 12:1-2a
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1Corinthians 13:13
Let us pursue this faith before us knowing that it is God,
Who is desirous of our wholeness,
that is going before us.
Let us also commend this faith to those around us
that they may live in the abundance God provides.