Speaking Christian in our Lenten Journey
Believing and Faith
Definitions of believing vary dependent upon your specific context and as Borg suggests, when we determine what believing and beloving God means. Believing is what you turn to when knowledge runs out. Believing reflects uncertainty and tentativeness. Believing is what you do when you think someone is telling you statements that are true. Believing not knowing for sure but thinking that the probability is good.
In a Christian context saying I believe in you means having confidence in God and Jesus trusting them. To belove someone also means to hold someone dear. Until the 1600ès, to believe in God and Jesus meant to belove them- to hold them dear with love,
Believing that a set of statements about God Jesus and the bible are true. Beloving God means beloving God as known especially in Jesus.
The question we need to ask is does believing that a set of statements are true save us, transform us or is it beloving God as known in Jesus that saves us by transforming us? Do we really believe in God or belove God?
What is faith? We say we are faithful to a spouse by not straying, but do we understand what faith in God is? It is more than commitment, even as it is not less. Faithfulness leads us to pay attention to our relationship to God- through such attention, we become even more deeply centered in God. Trust is the fruit of that deeper centering. It grows as we focus more and more in God. Kierekegaard states that faith is like floating in 70000 fathoms of water. If we are fearful and struggles as we float in an immeasurably deep body of water,we sink and drown.But if we trust that the water will keep us up, we float.
Beliefs matter but faith is a much deeper movement of the heart. Christian faith is allegiance to and trust in God as known in Jesus. (Borg, 177)
Jesus calls us to believe in the one who sent him and have faith that God will provide all our needs. Borg offers this old/new word which takes us from belief to a term of endearment not used very often today. Beloved.. We might sing that “I am my beloved’s and He is mine, His banner over me is love, “ but do we sing these words based on belief, faith and commitment to God?
How committed to your statements of faith are you? What about your faith commitment and your beloved God? Are you being transformed in understanding and love?
God of grace and love, we thank you that we may believe in you and call you our beloved as we are transformed by your Spirit. We believe, but it is our unbelief which seems to take over in times of uncertainty. Show us how to love you and grow in you.
Call us to be faithful and fill us with the hope and knowledge of your unconditional love. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Please reflect and respond to these questions as you share pray for your understanding.
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Marcus J. Borg, Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power- and how they can be restored, Detroit: Gale Cengage Learning, 2012.