The Reasonableness of Faith (Part 3 of 3)
From A Way of Life: Understanding Our Christian Faith
[Excerpted from A Way of Life: Understanding Our Christian Faith, Anthony J. Chvala-Smith, Herald House, 2019, pp. 32-33]
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. -Isaiah 11:1-4
The presence of massive suffering and enormous evil in human experience leads many people to decide that faith in God is unjustifiable. We do well to listen to the cries of the victims and not rush to hasty, thoughtless “religious” answers. No one knew better than the psalmists how the reality of God recedes before the anguish of human grief and misery. At the same time, one’s cry of anguish is not a lament if the universe is empty. If there is only “nature,” then what we call suffering cannot be mourned, because it is simply what happens in a silent, pitiless universe. On the other hand, if God exists, then our outrage at suffering has a listener, and our sorrow has one who shares it with us. Furthermore, if God is, then we can understand why faith has empowered prophetic people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa in their struggles to make the world more just and humane. Even more so, we can find the courage to join them in that quest.
Fear in the Christian life is never a virtue. That includes fear of new knowledge, fear of change, or even fear of proper criticisms of religion. Seeking to comprehend the world, the human past, diverse cultures, our own lives, and especially our faith is a principle way we can, in the words of the psalmist, “walk in our integrity.” Integrity means being honest about what we do not know, while living from what we do know. It means following truth, however partially glimpsed, wherever it leads. It means acknowledging that the infinite mystery of God demands all we are, especially our deepest thought, in openness and trust. Community of Christ believes faith must welcome the quest for truth from all sources. As some medieval theologians taught, God is Truth itself. Therefore, wherever truth is found, God already is present.
Let your world of beauty capture me.
Growing a Gracious, Generous Heart
Open your heart to God’s grace and generosity with a “breath prayer.” Let your breathing slow and deepen. Be aware of God’s breath moving in and out of your heart. Spend several minutes focusing on breathing in God’s generosity. With each breath, silently name one gift for which you are thankful. Let your heart expand to contain God’s gracious outpouring of love. With each breath out, name one gift you want to share from the overflow of your heart.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.