“How’s Your Faith?” – Good News for September 1

1 09 2009

St. Paul’s 1st Letter to the Thesselonians 5:1-6, 9-11

Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night. When people are saying, “Peace and security,” then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you like a thief. For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober. For God did not destine us for wrath, but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with him. Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do.

The Daily Path: St. Paul warns us to remain vigilant and not get complacent in this life by taking salvation for granted. In the last sentence of this passage, he calls for the followers of Christ to support one another in this pursuit. I see some of this encouragement happening in my own parish. I imagine that it also happens to some extent in all faith communities. But what strikes me is how uncomfortable we seem to be in offering what I’ll call “active encouragement”… even within the safety of our own faith communities.

We are very good at asking the question “How are you?” Sometimes we even care enough to actively listen to the response. But has anyone ever greeted you and asked “Hi Dale. How is your faith holding up?” or “Jenny, what’s new along the spiritual journey?” I think most of us would stutter and stammer as we tried to come up with an answer… or an excuse to run away!

We’re trained to avoid religion and politics in the course of conversation. In most cases that’s probably a good way to just stay the course. Not rock the boat. Keep relationships easy.

But vigilance is never easy. We get tired. It’s often just too hard, so we don’t do it.

It’s not easy, especially for men, to encourage one another along the spiritual journey. We’re afraid to even mention Jesus outside of church, unless his last name is Alou and he played baseball for the San Francisco Giants.

What are we all so afraid of? Why can’t we feel comfortable in caring as much about spiritual health as we do physical health? Frankly, there are days when I wish someone could actually have enough courage to ask me what floor my “faith elevator” was on. And I’ll bet I’m not alone.

Room to Chat: One thing I ask of the Lord, this I seek: To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life (Psalms 27:4)




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