Thursday, February 16, 2012

Daily Office Reflection: Knowledge and Faith

Psalms 105:1-22 * 105:23-45; Genesis 32:3-21; 1 John 2:18-29; John 10:19-30

So many of us just want to know. We want and need proof. Without that concrete, solid evidence we just won't believe. This is how most of us are in life. This is how our society and culture operates. And this is not all that different from how we have always acted throughout the ages of time.

In John's Gospel today (and the past few days), Jesus has been in Jerusalem, facing off with the leaders of the temple-society. They have heard of the miracles he has been performing, have spoken with the individual whose eyesight has just been restored. They have spoken with Jesus many times, not really listening to him. Instead, they try to fit Jesus into their constructs of knowledge, into their belief system, based on facts and evidence as they perceive them.

John reports Jesus' words as, "I have told you, and you do not believe..." You do not believe is a repeated phrase in this portion of John's Gospel. Even though they have seen the results of Jesus' work, have spoken with him, the do not believe. How are we supposed to believe if we haven't had the same opportunity as those temple-leaders? Where does our faith come from, if we cannot have concrete knowledge and evidence of the existence of that which we believe?

Volumes of texts have been written on this subject of faith in that which we cannot, and do not, see. We can study (and really must study) these texts we believe to be sacred. And through that study, we can gain some modicum of knowledge. And yet, faith is something un-concrete: it is an ethereal thing, a feeling, a belief.

From those ethereal moments, when we know, without concrete proof, that we are on the right track, those are the moments on which we must hang our faith.... Our belief that God is with us in this world. From those moments, we can and build a life based on the goodness and love modeled for us by Jesus. The hard truth is, we build our lives on faith, and there are things that we can just not concretize.

Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Art: Cross # , 2009, jfd+

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