God’s word comforts doubters
The Rev. Kara Eidson, associate pastor, First United Methodist Church, 946 Vt.:
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” — Hebrews 11:1
The most frequent dilemma that comes to me from members of the church, and even in my own faith journey, is the problem of doubt. I often comfort such people by assuring them: “Doubt is proof that faith is still alive.” But even though I can recount centuries of the faithful who have struggled with doubt as well, it is sometimes little comfort.
(John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, often told his circuit riding preachers: “Preach faith until you have it!”) We — perhaps even more than our ancestors — have become a people who desire evidence for the things we believe; we want to see and touch what is real, or at least have an authority on the subject explain it in such a way that we are able to believe. But I have no formula for my profession that will prove God’s existence, that’s why it comes down to a matter of faith.
This verse is one of my favorites because it defines faith: “assurance of things hoped for” and “conviction of things not seen.”
We find such assurance and conviction in the Word, in God’s creation, in the people around us who work for the good. We can be witnesses to God’s promises on a daily basis, if only we have eyes to see and ears to hear.
— Send e-mail to Kara Eidson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scriptures reveal miracle of life
The Rev. Matt Zimmerman, St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, 5700 W. Sixth St.:
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” — John 1: 14
When Yuri Gagarin returned to the USSR from his space flight he reported that having flown into the heavens he declared he had not seen God. On hearing this, an orthodox priest remarked, “If you haven’t seen God on earth, why would you expect to see him in heaven?”
The Christmas season is soon upon us. In church language, it is the Feast of the Incarnation. It is a time when we look not at the transcendent glory of God that fills the universe but at the divine wonder of a baby’s face. The incarnation reminds us that God made his creation and declared it good to the point that God is willing to be part of it. Christianity holds two opposites to be one that God is both unapproachable and intimate, beyond our sight and within our hearts. At Christmas time we look within to find God.
A charming movie titled “Wide Awake” is about a young boy who experiences a crisis and declares to his young friend that he is going on a search to find God. His friend’s question in return is quite unique, for his question contained the answer, “Where in the world are you going to find God?” The poet William Blake shares the possibilities:
“To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.”
“And the word became flesh and lived among us ...” Christmas, the incarnation is a time to see the divine not revealed by the grandeur of the heavens but in the miracle life and the divine revealed in ourselves and those around us.
— Send e-mail to Matt Zimmerman at email@example.com.