I went to the Well of Mercy worried about my faith. Not my connection to God. That has never been more real. I mean, my "faith" as used in the sense of, if you say or do or think certain things, people "question your faith" or say you've "wandered away from the faith". That faith. I was in a faith-crisis, not with God, but with my theolgy, my religion.
I walked the prayer path, as Wisdom reminded me to quiet my mind and just be in the forest. I breathed as slow and deep as I could and I asked Her if She might show me something (all throughout Proverbs, Wisdom is a She). As much as I tried not to think about my faith, I couldn't help it - so I "sat" there (as I walked). The word faith brought to mind the scripture from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, in what we call the thirteenth chapter: "Now abide these three: faith hope and love... " I rehearsed those three things in my mind: faith. hope. love. The words kept pace with my feet along the path: faith, hope, love. faith, hope, love...
Wisdom filled my mind and heart with a realization that faith is the beginning, not the end. Faith - complete assurance in God - is the starting point. That, for me, is firm. Faith IN HIM, in HIS goodness, in HIS power, in HIS words - not in my religion or any particular individual's system of theology. That is the root. But the root grows...
I also have hope. My hope goes beyond doctrine. It goes beyond exactly what I can SEE plainly. It is bigger. It is all encompassing. And it is rooted, grounded in my faith. My hope does not threaten my faith. I am reminded of Jesus saying that a seed has to die in order to grow... maybe my "faith in religion" had to "die" in order for true faith in God to germinate... I don't know. I just know, in every fiber of my soul, that my hope is true. I cannot deny it, without denying all that I am.
And then... there is love. This is where I was challenged. For, the greatest of these is love. And he who loves has been born of God and knows God. And whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Yes, the Word is clear - the greatest of these is not faith or hope, but love.
So ... rather than wear out my pretty head fussing over my faith and my hope and what they mean and what they say about me and what labels are or are not tied up in those ... I am to love. And to love - to truly love - will take all the energy I have. All the commitment and prayer and devotion ... in fact, I won't have time in my brain to worry about much else.
Imagine with me. Imagine no thought for self. Imagine pure forgiveness. Imagine needing nothing but giving everything. Imagine no sarcasm. No cutting criticism. No impatience. No huff and puff. No door slamming. No sulking. No greed. No jealousy. Imagine just living, oozing out love. Embodying love. Being love. All the time. To everyone from your most annoying child to your spouse to the one person on this planet you truly just cannot STAND. Imagine your love inviting others to know and experience the love of The Good God for the first time in their lives.
That, I believe, is our command. And that is worthy of my undying energy, effort, and focus. Sure, I'm interested in questions about faith and hope, especially since so many are discussing those right now. But LOVE. Love is the flower. It requires nothing less than complete surrender to the Spirit, humble prayer, complete dependence ... it can't be mustered up but it is intentional.
And so that is what I meant to say about this ... I hope to say more, but for today, publishing what remains imperfect....