Saturday, November 27, 2010

Homily 17: Faith, Fear, and Following (as preached by an orthodox rebel)

"Jesus said unto them, 'Follow me, and I will...." Matthew 4:19

Faith is a trial because everything in life seems geared against it. From society and civilization to our own eyes and mind, there is always a penumbra of voices doubting and decrying our step into the dark. Even good and noble things like common-sense can rise up against you, with words sweet like honey and deep like thunder. The persuasion is almost unbearable, but despair, not peace, can only follow such concession; the vision was too sweet and the calling too heart-rending, and parting with it is bitter sorrow. Anything resembling peace in that exchange is merely apathetic surrender to your doubts. It is a difficult and perilous thing to follow by faith.

"Jesus said..., 'I will....'" This is all that we will receive: a promise. A promise from God that this thing, this crazy, hair-brained thing will be accomplished. He does not say how, nor does He explain all that it will entail. He simply says, "The thing will be done, and I will do it." Faith is trusting the promise and nothing else: not plans, people, interpretations, or experiences, but the promises of God in Christ.

Faith is (at the very least) an openness to being credulous about the incredible. God's promises are incredible mainly because they are simple. "You see that ridiculously impossible thing?" He says, "All of the hopes and dreams and burdens that I have laid on your heart? Follow me, and I will accomplish them." There is only one possibility for happiness, only one hope to have the glory and adventure that the human heart thirsts for: follow God--into the wilderness, into the dark, and believe that He will.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2010

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