Fearless Faith

The hard work begins


April 12, 2023

And so, the real work begins as Holy Week culminates in anticipated, though not unexpected, outcomes. Perfect hindsight is confirmed. The movement that Jesus never intended to establish, let alone lead, has since grown into a major world religion filled with insight, hope and possibility based on the promises of the cross. When the anticipation, hype, and lead-up recedes from its annual liturgical crescendo, we remain faced with a tragic and broken world, one which Jesus followers could never have anticipated, then or now. Norms of human interaction continue to include greed, suffering, covetous behaviors of all stripes, cruelty, and indifference. The fix is beyond the scope of any single individual, so, like it or not, we are bound to one another if we are to survive at all.

When rescuing someone from a burning building, we don’t pause to query them on their religious affiliations and beliefs, in essence waiting to complete a saving act until the right philosophy is espoused. Neither does the rescued person demand to know if the rescuer has all the requisite training and experience to pull it off. When flames are nipping at your butt, it’s time to be elsewhere, no matter how you got there to begin with. How incongruent, then, to declare there being only one way, one solution, one methodology or one tidy conclusion to all things spiritual. Have you ever encountered those who are fond of using God as leverage? Fear and consequences loom large in such discussions, yet we all know that grace with strings attached is no grace at all.

The work of the cross is always beginning, never finished. God knows the human condition intimately. Can we say the same regarding divine presence? A few catch phrases every Easter are not enough to focus our attentions. We require community to understand limits of application — what applies and what does not, what is truth and what is mirage. Disparate conclusions are a sign of health within any faith movement provided we allow safe space to encourage conversation and participation. It might even be that we could learn a thing or two from those whose beliefs are undeniably distant from our own. Why believe in ways foreign to our own? We’ll never know unless we are willing to inquire.

We don’t always have to have our (Easter) ducks in a row. We’ll be lucky to herd them into a recognizable group or flock (or a paddling or a raft of ducks if grouped in water). If all we know are flocks, then we miss seeing them in any other way. If all we depend on are traditions in the church, we miss seeing Christianity in any other way. Easter waits, patient, confident, eager to get on and wanting company. Are we up to the task? It’s a long road until Easter next. What, then, are we waiting for?

“We are still awaiting Easter; we are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust (Pope Benedict XVI).” Safe travels.


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