Jonah 3:1-5, 10
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved
Got to go—someplace. Anyplace! Anywhere!
Anywhere but where we are supposed to go!
God calls, we respond.
God leads and we follow.
and usually, only when it is convenient for us.
Sometimes we are too afraid.
Sometimes we are too weak.
Sometimes we just have more important
things to do than answer God’s call…
Sometimes. But then,
sometimes we get it right in spite of ourselves,
and our very real inhibitions—sometimes.
I am always impressed at the amount of ministers
who, lacking any true vision of God,
nonetheless serve God,
regardless of their lack of faith—
AND SERVE GOD WELL!
And this is, I suppose,
the ultimate act of faith, and courage:
To serve God in spite of one’s own disbelief!
To move on in God’s work
not knowing—just not knowing—
but moving on regardless!
The truth of it is, is that it takes no courage or faith to follow something that we actually know to be factual and absolute. If this is our stance before God then there is not need for faith, and if as St. Paul says, that it is through our faith that we are saved, then if our theology/spirituality/religion/belief is fact-based, salvation may well be impossible for us. Factual categorization does not salvation bring.
On the other hand, if it is only possible to act in the subjunctive, to place out faith in what we only hope could be true, only wish were so, then it seems we actually have faith. It is the individual who serves a God that might not be there, who acts in faith in spite of the evidence that their actions may be in vein, who struggles day to day (sometimes minute by minute) with doubts and skepticism, but acts in faith anyway that is, in actuality, living out their faith.
Like I said, or alluded to, last week, this whole God/church/spirit/life/death thing is born and is shrouded in mystery, and if we think we know anything at all we are deluding ourselves. MYSTERY DOES NOT FUNCTION ON THE ACT OF KNOWING; MYSTERY FUNCTIONS ON THE ACT ON NOT-KNOWING!
This is not to say that I do not believe in God, or that I have no faith in Jesus. It is to say that I have very little to say about God’s attributes, except those born out of my encounters with this Divine Entity, which have been good, loving, generous, forgiving, freeing, liberating, and life-changing. These encounters have brought me to the realization that whatever it is that God is, God is trustworthy, and I need not worry, be afraid, experience fear, around God, because God cares deeply for me. That is my only claim. I cannot make any more claim to knowledge of God and God’s ways than that. I know nothing scientific, because God can neither be proved of disproved; I only have anecdotal, personal data, but it is enough for me.