Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Faith

Wednesday, January 2, 2013 -- 9th Day of Christmas (Year One)
Vedanayagam Samuel Azariah, First Indian Anglican Bishop, Dornakal, 1945

[Go to http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html for an online version of the Daily Office including today's scripture readings.]

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
     (Book of Common Prayer, p. 940)
Psalms 34 (morning)     //     33 (evening)
Genesis 12:1-7
Hebrews 11:1-12
John 6:35-42, 48-51

For John Wesley, faith was a core concept, but his own concept of faith developed over time.  At first, Wesley spoke of faith mostly as belief -- assenting to the truth of the Christian revelation.  Faith in something that was predominately objective.

It is as though his faith then moved from his head to his heart as he experienced God's grace in a more deeply personal and intuitive way.  Wesley's conversation about faith began to turn more in a direction of personal trust that leaves one confident in God, especially confident in God's love.  Trusting in God's love becomes its own evidence that God's love nurtures and inspires growing our trust and confidence. 

For Wesley "faith" continued to have a sense of believing in the truth of revelation (as in believing in "the faith" -- a noun), but as his own experience of faith became more nuanced, he spoke of "degrees" of faith as a sense of growing in faith (more like a verb -- "faithing").  As our faith grows -- trusting, loving -- we expand our experience of God's love which expands our understanding of God's love.  We grow toward holiness, so assured of God's love that the same love fills us and energizes our lives. 

We open the Abraham saga today in Genesis.  Abraham is the father of faith, the icon of faith.  Abraham trusted God's call promising blessing, and he left his home, his family, and his dependence upon their support.  He trusted God for guidance and support, and set out on his pilgrimage.  He acted in trust.  His faith was a verb -- the action of leaving, grounded in his trust that God would lead guide and bless him. 

Hebrews 11 begins today with this definition of faith:  "Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don't see." (11:1, CEB)  Then the writer tells stories of those who acted in trust.  Our reading today from the Gospel of John includes much of Jesus' "I am the bread of life" discourse. 

I find myself often uncertain about what I believe.  I find I have much doubt about many things. 

But I find that I can trust.  I can trust God's love, especially as revealed in the story and person of Jesus, and I as I act, trusting that love, I find it becomes self-authenticating.  Love begets love, and is fulfilling and satisfying, the Bread of Life.


Lowell
_______________



Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Go to: http://www.stpaulsfay.org/id244.html

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html

Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

2 Comments:

At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A wonderful way to begin a new year. I count on you, Lowell, to help guide my often questioning "faith."

Peace and Hope, Caroline

 
At 8:46 AM, Blogger Lowell said...

Thanks for the kind words, Caroline. Happy New Year.
Lowell

 

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