Thursday, August 09, 2007

Pentecost +11 Sunday – C3

Pentecost +11 Sunday – C3

Years C
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

"Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (11:1) ... "[the faithful] desire a better country" (11:16)

So often faith relates backward. It circles around an assent or belief that we have come to.

We sometimes encourage one another to have faith enough to move forward with fear and trembling.

Here faith is not a grit your teeth and move ahead or a casting a fond eye over our shoulder to days gone by. Here faith is hardwired to assurance and conviction. These are the measuring rods of faith, not stated belief or hoping for the best. Of course assurance and faith are tricky categories as we can fool ourselves without even blinking. We can be quite sure and dead wrong. We can have the strongest of convictions without having helpful behavior.

Here faith is communal, even over time, where the common thread of assurance and conviction are equally tied to a desire or yearning for a next better place to be, better person to be. It is this communal nature of faith that can ground it with more confidence (even when in the middle of a generalized cultural delusion).

How clearly can you name a better situation than the one you are in and find a next step toward it? Odds are it will be in concert with others with the same desire.

= = = = = = =

by faith calls are heard and followed
into an unknown territory
of a better country
this is our Darwinian genetic heritage
to stay in a tent in this land
and the next land
and any other or returned to land
as we discern where we are
and where we are yet headed

not even the nearness of death
will stay the faithful one
from their appointed rounds
snow and sleet are nothing
compared to disappointment
at our distance from better
and so strangers and foreigners
in this place we set out again
to what we know is yet there

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