A series of meditations in 2015, by the Rector, Staff, Parishioners, and Friends of the Parish.
“We are all here to do the best we can. And every last one of us can do better than give up.”
Cheryl Strayed, from her book tiny beautiful things: Advice on love and life from Dear Sugar.
Giving up on faith is not generally something we talk a lot about in church. After all, we go to church on Sunday to build up our faith, not to talk about how little we have. But maybe we should. Maybe we should spend more time talking about how little faith we have. Maybe we should talk to each other about how unworthy we feel of that kind of closeness with God. Maybe we should spend a Sunday looking at the person next to us in the pew and say, “I’m doing the best I can with faith, but sometimes I just feel like giving up.”
As a parish, we struggle with that kind of faith. All Christians do. Jesus certainly did. At the end of his earthly life, Jesus wanted things from God, just like we do. He wanted things to be different, just like we often do. He wanted to live, just like we do. I’m sure he wanted his friends to understand more about his situation, his troubles, as he described them on numerous occasions, just as we do. Instead, his friends fell asleep.
We all want things from God, just like Jesus did. And when God doesn’t deliver according to our definition, we lose faith. Even Jesus felt forsaken. So why work on it at all? Because we can all do better than giving up. Often, the antidote to wanting to give up is to reach out. That can be the hardest thing on the planet, because, like Jesus, our friends might fall asleep on us. If they do, we’re left only with God, who won’t always give us what we want. But God will always be present, beyond our seeing, beyond our knowing, beyond our wanting. Walking just one step in faith, just one baby step, allows us to begin to trust that Sunday follows Friday. That the God who seems distant is closer than the nails in the hands of Jesus. That God will use those nails and that pain to bring a new day beyond anything we can ask or imagine.
Questions for the week:
Has part of me given up on faith? If I have, what caused that? Have I talked about this with anyone? Who do I know who has re-found their faith after difficult times?