Friday, October 11, 2013

By faith

By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear. . . . By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, took heed and constructed an ark for the saving of his household. . . . By faith Abraham . . . went out, not knowing where he would go. . .. By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive even when she was past the age. . . . These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.
Heb.11:3, 7-14

Faith is a way of looking a what is seen and understanding it in a new sense. Faith is a way of looking at what there is to be seen in the world and in ourselves and hoping, trusting, believing against all evidence to the contrary that beneath the surface we see there is vastly more that we cannot see.

By faith we understand, if we are to understand at all, that the madness and lostness we see all around us and within us are not the last truth about the world but the next to the last truth. Madness and lostness are the results of terrible blindness and tragic willfulness, which whole nations are involved in no less than you and I are involved in them. Faith is the eye of the heart, and by faith we see deep down beneath the face of things- by faith we struggle against all odds to be able to see- that the world is God's creation even so. It is he who made us and not we ourselves, made us out of his peace to live in peace, out of his light to dwell in light, out of his love to be above all things loved and loving. This is the last truth about the world.

Can it be true? No, of course it cannot. On the face of it, if you take the face seriously and face up to it, how can it possibly be true? Yet how can it not be true when our hearts bear such powerful witness to it, when blessed moments of our lives speak of it so eloquently? And that no-man's land between the Yes and the No, that everyman's land, is where faith stands and has always stood. Seeing but not seeing, understanding but not understanding, we all stand somewhere between Yes and the No the way old Noah stood there before us, and Abraham, and Sarah his wife, all of them.

The truth of God as the last and deepest truth- they none of them saw it in its fullness any more than we have, but they spent their lives homesick for it- seeking it like a homeland, like home, and their story is our story because we too have seen from afar what peace is, light is, love is . .. .

Frederick Buechner, from Secrets in the Dark

(I hope I didn't break too many copyright rules by posting such a lengthy portion, but I loved this and wanted to share . . .)

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