Saturday, September 7, 2013

Faith: Take wing and fly

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2
In “The Screwtape Letters,” C.S. Lewis writes, “It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one-–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
Mother Theresa wrote, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
The message from both these inspirational writers is about faith. Remaining faithful; being courageous in faith; willing to step outside your comfort zone in faith; faithfully resisting that which takes you away from the Light; and standing on faith when the world is falling apart around you.
Lewis returned to his Christian imperative in his thirties. With his new-found faith he wrote compelling narratives calling attention to how the world can shape who we are when we lose faith, not necessarily all at once, but rather by dribs and drabs, an undone thing here, an unkind or thoughtless word there.
Mother Theresa dedicated her entire life to serving the helpless and the hopeless, stepping out in faith, not that all would be well, but that she had a job to do and that job was right in front of her to be done now. Not later, not tomorrow, not when she had time, but now, in this moment. Today.
Faith in the God of all takes us out of our self-imposed prison of ennui and gives us wings.

Monday, September 2, 2013


Look to the Light 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Compassion and mercy sound good in theory, until someone you love disappoints you time and again, and you feel guilt and remorse because your parenting skills were woefully lacking. The adult son who struggles with addiction or anger issues seems flawed beyond redemption. The adult daughter, whose poor choices lead her into one abusive relationship after another, from which you cannot – despite your best effort – extricate her. Where does this behavior come from? You did the best job you could, and yet these disappointing examples of your bad parenting are like a shadow on your life.   

Perhaps that’s where the problem begins and ends. The lives of these people you love are based on their personal choices, made outside of your influence, and not necessarily because of it. Perhaps your focus on the shadow obscures the Light. That’s where compassion and mercy abide, in the Light. Compassion means to have sympathy and concern for someone and to show kindness toward them. Mercy extends forgiveness and understanding. Nowhere in there does either of these exact guilt. Nor do they require you to “fix” the other person. Nowhere does it say you need not have compassion and mercy for yourself. God is at work. Know it. Believe it. Live it. Grace abounds, not because of who we are, but because of who God is.