Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My faith, in community

Sometimes I do wonder why I am still here:  in the church, hoping wildly and unreasonably still in Jesus.  It is a mystery of faith, of the working of the Holy Spirit.  Somehow Martin Luther's words ring true:

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. 

But just how has the Holy Spirit called me?

My parents brought me to church.  Every week.  My father sang the liturgy, and helped me find my place in the book, so that I could do it too. 

My parents prayed with us before we went to bed.  My father also read us Bible stories, from a book called "The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes."  He also pretended he was Methusalah, the world's oldest man, who knew all of the Bible characters.

My parents' friends were all active in their churches and talked about their faith.  One of their best friends went overseas to be missionaries in Papua New Guinea.

I went to church camp, sang "Pass it On", and learned to put little candles in my Bible next to verses that meant a lot to me.  A camp counselor once confessed to me that she sometimes had doubts about what she believed, but she was comforted by the fact that God knew more than she did, and knew that she was going through a time of doubt.

I went through times when I wasn't sure about what I believed about God or faith.

I had some intense religious experiences as a young adult.

I had great conversations with friends of other religions traditions, which really made me think about my own.

At my church, I taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, and went out to brunch with a group of widows.  I knew pre-school children, confirmation students, parents and retired people.

My parents brought me to the baptismal font, where I was joined to Christ, and to Christ's people:  so many people, so many ages, from so many places.  Love, incarnate.  The mystery of Holy Spirit, calling.

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