Faith is absolute trustLatest Issue, Where's the Faith? Thursday, August 17th, 2017
Social Chaos: Where's the Faith?
As a progressive Christian, I believe there are many names for God and many ways to a loving God; this article reflects one of those ways. Take from here what works for you. Celebrate life with joy and peace!
Faith is absolute trust in the goodness and care of God, regardless of the situation and especially in difficult circumstances. This is in sharp contrast to those who believe that if they have strong enough faith, then they will always find themselves in a lovely bed of roses, with no problems, no sickness … the easy life!
Our trust in God can grow through our devotional life; through reading Scripture and sacred texts, through prayer and also in community. Now, if these were the only building blocks of our faith, it would be all about us. As followers of Jesus, we want to imitate him and his responses to life. This is why we stand on the side of love when it comes to gay conversion therapy, this is why we are marching at Pride and have a booth where people can learn about an amazing VIP faith community that’s vibrant, inclusive and progressive with a vision that our faith in a great big God of many names who has the power to transform lives and transform the world.
Our faith trusts God so completely that it seeks the places where God is at work and then joins in that work. Caring for the marginalized, for our planet, for justice and equality for all! We don’t join in these efforts to appease or impress God. No, we join in God’s work because we trust God so completely that we want to be is partnering in God’s efforts. Now beware, this might lead us outside of our comfort zone and this is good.
Jesus often involved himself in the life of someone on the margin. In Jesus’ day, so-called “lepers” were considered both religiously unclean and dangerous to be around. These people were thought to be sinners who were being punished by God for their transgressions. Most people thought these “sinners” got what they deserved. (Sound familiar?) They were suffering because they were bad people, and good people kept their distance from bad people.
Not Jesus! Jesus would have nothing to do with this kind of “stinkin’ thinkin’!” Rather than shunning the man and ignoring him, Jesus reached out to him and responded to his hurt with healing. Without blame, without hesitation, Jesus got involved with this person who was considered a hazard to the moral and physical health of others.
If our faith calls us to trust God so much that we can follow Jesus, then we will be following Jesus to the lives of people others may find unfit, dangerous or questionable. Who might that be in your life?
In Jesus, we see One who did not shy away from the people others saw as unworthy outcasts. God was in Jesus, and God is also in us, and if we are to be working in partnership with God, then we must find ourselves involved in the lives of persons at the margins.
Notice Jesus’ response to the suffering man was not limited to sympathy or superficial warmth. Jesus changed the man for the better. Jesus made a difference.
If we are looking for God’s work in our world, start by looking for any place where people are being helped to have new and better lives. Some of those ways are easier than others. Supporting a youth group, working with children, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, feeding the hungry, working with Community Services – these all contribute to ways people’s lives are made better.
And there are also less conventional places where people’s hardships are being lifted. Prison ministry is one. I am grateful to those who are faithful in their ministry to our transgender sisters at George Bailey Detention Center in Otay Mesa. The interaction is sincere and deeply spiritual and 100 percent non-judgmental.
As we trust God, we’ll go where God is even if that place seems uncomfortable or dangerous. I believe God can be fully trusted. I believe God was in Christ and is in us.
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