Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Risk of Faith

Yesterday's meditation, based on the writing of Ruth Burrows spoke of the Risky nature of faith.
That Lent calls us to understand faith in a Naked and perhaps terrifying Rawness. So Sharp is the challenge we might almost call it 'the Wound that is faith'.

She spoke of the Stinging rebuke of Jesus to the disciples in the storm - ' "Why the panic? Where is your faith?" Is he not saying, [she asks] "Does it matter if you go down if I am with you?"'

Will we risk all on Him and His Love for us? 

After Jesus has been driven by the Spirit into the wilderness where he fasted for forty days and nights - he is tested by Satan. And each challenge, like his successful tempting of the man and the woman in the garden is based on a subtle shift in the Truth. It is one which we perhaps miss, so enamoured and misunderstanding are we of Jesus' miracles.

'If you are the Son of God' - the Accuser begins - 'change these stones into bread.'

We miss the non-sequitur. Being the Son of God has Nothing to do with being a miracle worker. Satan tries to wrong foot Jesus as he had tried to wrong foot the children of God once before, by questioning their very nature as those whose Life comes not from within themselves, but from above (unless you are born from above you cannot see the Kingdom of God).

"Change these stones into bread?" - "throw yourself off the Temple?" - "bow down and worship me?".

At once these are things that Jesus can do and cannot do. He cannot because he is a child of God, he can because he in his true humanity he can do anything, just as the man and the woman could take the apple and eat. So he was open to temptation, tempted as we are in Every way.

And these challenges are very tempting because they suggest, like that primeval temptation, that they will deliver the goods. [The Ends Justify the Means is The Prevailing Way of thought however much we deny it] But the man and the woman lost sight of the Ends and so lost sight of the Means, the only Means given in Creation, the Life of God - 'Apart from me you can do nothing'.

In so doing they reap Death for they deny the Life that is given that they might Live. Exchanging the Truth of God, for a lie.

Perhaps more than ever we live in a world where the Lies of Pragmatism and Utilitarianism are writ large. We live in a world where we are told that, in order to succeed you Must . . . well we can all fill in our own pet 'Rules for Life' here - our own understandings of what makes for 'the good life'. And blindly we follow them, and then wonder why it doesn't work. 'There must be a way to make it all work!', and if we are religiously inclined we will of course co-opt our puny faith in the god [sic] who makes our lives work for us, and will surely make the world work is we only ask him to bless our plans, our work and our lives. Reaching out for the next Snake oil seller with his "Hundred Proven ways to Succeed" And in so doing we reveal that we do not know who we are, consumed as we are in the lies that turning stones into bread, throwing ourselves off temples or indeed worshiping the Adversary in one of his many guises will do it for us. So desperate are we to live by anything, rather than admit we are not masters of our own destiny and take the risk of  faith.

One of the great gifts of Lent is the stripping away of the illusory powers that are in our hands, 
the revealing of our own perception that in some ways we Are miracle workers 
rather than Children of God. 

It is in coming face to face with our utter powerlessness that we might perhaps be saved if we dare keep in that path and not turn back

Perhaps this is why we do not fast, pray or give alms much if at all?

"Does it matter if you go down if I am with you?"

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