Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Christian Journey

It has been said by some that a Christian without a faith story is only barely on the path. During the Advent season my church has a special Wednesday evening service where the sermon is replaced by a member of the congregation sharing their faith story. Over the years I’ve heard some good ones with perhaps the best not being told by the member, who was absent due to surgery, but by the pastor saying, “She is too humble to share this with you, but her story is worth hearing” as the preface to the story of her life changing experience.

I’d really like to share my faith story with you, but consider it incomplete. I am of faith in Christ but won’t know until invited into Heaven, or not, that I’ve lived a God-pleasing life. For me there are too many unknowns and too much uncertainty even after many readings of Bible verse and discussions with fellow Christians. How big is a mustard seed, anyway?

I know that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. He was the Son of God and was sent to us, given for us, as the new covenant between God and all His people. I totally get that, having it in my rational mind and holding it in my heart. Further, I follow the teachings of Martin Luther and understand that this grace from God is a gift that cannot be earned other than through faith in that new covenant. But than I read Jesus saying in Matthew 7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged,” and the apostle John in Revelation 20 that, “the dead were judged according to what they had done.”

Perhaps I’m just not a solid Lutheran. We are taught that good works are the fruits of faith. We are taught that a faith without good works is a dead faith. We are also taught that the sense of feeling good about having done something clearly good in God’s eyes is to be rejected as it takes from the glory of God, and this has pretty good Biblical backing.

I simply don’t know, for sure, what the truth might be other than my Nicene Creed defined faith and that Jesus called on us to act on God’s behalf, more often than anything, to ease the suffering of the poor. I often turn to Jesus’ saying there are only two commandments left, with all the law held within them. Those two do cover a lot of ground though. Everything, in fact.

Even under the new covenant in Christ, my sense is that God wants us to live exemplary lives. It is under the new covenant, however, that our missing the mark is forgiven. Jesus tells us he came not to change one letter of the law, but we are also taught that through communion with Christ our sins are forgiven and we move forward pure, clean to the new life in Christ. But then we sin again. No wonder they call us hypocrites! I am incredibly thankful for that grace from God, but I would vastly prefer to require less of it and consciously work towards that goal.

So I move forward firm in my faith, accepting it is a journey that fills a life. I hope to grow through prayer, through worship and through showing the agape love of God to my neighbors near and far and to my family all the more. I find comfort that Jesus is my guide and always there when I need him, which is to say every moment of every day.

May His peace be with us all!

(For what it's worth, upon proofing this writing, I am glad to report that today was a really good day and this piece is simply something that has been rolling around in my head for a while.)


Blogger Penguin said...

Hi: Just stumbled upon your blog. I am about to have my first novel published in the spring. I bring it up because the novel, as wel las several others that I have written, revolve around the issue of faith, true faith in a world of political and religious spin. HUNTING THE KING follows archaeologist Molly O'Dwyer into Iraq to search for the remains of Jesus and his illegitimate daughter Hannaniah. It is really Molly's search for faith, which I believe to be above politics, completely individual and democratic. Jesus meant to keep things simple, unregulated, and open to all. Ain't happened. I hope you will check out the book. You can go to the Kunati Books web site and look under spring 2008. It is a good read. Peter

11/25/2007 5:42 AM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Hi Penguin -

I'll let the blatant commercial posting stand, but have to comment on your "Ain't happened" comment. I'll agree that for many the perception of Christianity is of the religious right, but still there is each one of us out there to keep Jesus simple, unregulated and open to all. Talk to the people you meet about Jesus. Keep it simple and open. You may be amazed at the results.

11/25/2007 9:53 AM  

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