WHY BELONG TO A COMMUNITY OF FAITH: TO BE REMINDED OF A BIGGER, DEEPER REALITY WHERE HOPE AND LOVE PREVAIL

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Egotistical, lying politicians…powerful drug cartels…horrific, senseless school shootings…

Never-ending stress at work…a terminal diagnosis…thousands in credit card debt…

Women being raped…children being bullied…husbands beating their wives…

Hurricanes…wildfires…tornadoes…earthquakes…tsunamis…drought…

Fear…guilt…rage…greed…arrogance…anxiety…depression…

Homelessness…poverty…racism…homophobia…hunger…

Global warming…nuclear weapons…terrorism…

(Religious hypocrisy…condescending self-righteousness…unquestioning extremism…)

Need I go on?

Our world is in a world of hurt.

Our world, it would seem, is a world of hurt…

…a world of hurt, and of pain and injustice.

…a world of hurt, and of anger and inequality.

…a world of hurt, and of fear and intolerance.

Our world, it would seem, is a world of despair,

and hopelessness.

So says the news.

So say the doomsayers.

So says anyone with eyes to see

and ears to hear what’s happening all around.

So says, perhaps, common sense.

 

But so does not say faith.

 

Faith says there’s another reality–

a larger and deeper and older and truer reality,

a reality that requires seeing with a different kind of eyes,

and listening with a different kind of ears,

but once seen and heard, is a reality that’s experienced as

one of abundance rather than scarcity,

of compassion rather than cruelty,

of hospitality rather than hostility,

of grace rather than greed,

of love and trust rather than fear and hatred.

And this reality is not just for ourselves and our families

and those who look and live like we do,

but for all persons,

perhaps especially for those who look and live differently

than we do….

Faith says there’s another reality–

if only we would all acknowledge it

and live into it,

moment by moment,

decision by decision….

 

And faith says there can be justice–

There can be enough for everyone

of what each of us needs:

Food, water, shelter, safety…

Belonging, forgiveness, acceptance, love…

But we all must be willing to want it,

to commit to it,

to work for it,

and not just for ourselves and our families

and those who look and live like we do,

but for all persons,

perhaps especially for those who look and live differently

than we do….

Faith says there can be justice–

if only we would all commit to it

and live into it,

moment by moment,

decision by decision….

 

And faith says equality already exists–

that each person is a beloved child of God,

no one more deserving,

no one less deserving,

of that identity,

and of the dignity and respect

and forgiveness and love

that comes interwoven with

and inseparable from

that identity…

But we all must be willing to see it,

and allow it,

and claim it,

and live within it,

and not just for ourselves and our families

and those who look and live like we do,

but for all persons,

perhaps especially for those who look and live differently

than we do….

Faith says equality already exists–

if only we would all claim it

and live into it,

moment by moment,

decision by decision….

.

Faith says fear not,

for there is another reality,

there is a bigger picture,

there is a deeper truth,

there is an older story

than this moment in history in which we find ourselves living.

And this older, deeper, bigger, other story is one of hope,

and of goodness,

and of strength,

and of forgiveness,

and of love–

a Love that casts out our fear,

that steadfastly defeats our loneliness,

that patiently wears down our selfishness

and turns us ever toward selflessness;

a Love that offers an antidote to our anxiety,

that stands strong in the presence of evil,

both within and without,

and that claims ultimate victory over darkness

and even over death.

Faith says that even in a world of hurt and fear and suffering,

there is a reality in which hope and goodness and love reside.

And not just reside, but prevail.

 

In the midst of the news

and the doomsayers

and even, sometimes, common sense, however,

That reality is something of which I need to be reminded,

and reminded on a regular basis.

That is the reality of which my faith reminds me.

That is the reality in which I daily (try to) choose to live and work and have my being.

And when I choose to belong to a community of faith,

I am choosing to partner with others who have chosen the same reality,

so that our struggles might be shared,

our failures might be forgiven,

our efforts might be multiplied,

and our spirits might be encouraged.

 

Thanks be to God for that reality in which Hope and Love prevail.

Thanks be to God for the reality of Faith.

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