Easter: a dynamic and living encounter

Christianity’s message is a radical thing. Few of us realize just how radical a message it is. I suppose mostly that stems from the various meanings of the word faith. Somewhere along the line in Christian circles, faith has come to mean that a person or group of persons subscribe to a certain set of doctrinal understandings. I hear this reflected regularly as in the question or assertion: does this Church teach the faith once delivered to the saints? What is really being asked is along the lines of, “well, is it consistent with apostolic teaching?”

For good or for ill, most Christian teaching of the Christian Faith centers on the doctrine of the Christian Faith. We therefore have the tendency to forget that the “faith once delivered to the saints” was a dynamic, living encounter with the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. The faith, once delivered to the saints was a living charism (anointing) in the power of the Holy Spirit—an anointing that led humble fishermen to testify to the power of Jesus as the Messiah—an anointing that led a promising rabbinic student named Paul to wander homeless from place to place proclaiming the message of the new life in Jesus Christ.

Faith, in other contexts, means to have a reasoned reflection based on the experience of a person, and to make choices and decisions about life based on that reasoned reflection. It implies that there is a covenanted relationship of trust between persons. It implies that there is a dynamic and living relationship among the two parties. When you say to your spouse, significant other, or another person, “I have faith in you,” it will not get you very far in the relationship if what you convey is “I have a system of lifeless beliefs about you.”

A great deal of discredit is done in the face of contemporary Christianity where what is proclaimed comes across as the magicthink that all you have to do is “believe in the Lord Jesus,” because the impression is given that there is no other expectation that belief. Ignored are those passages of scripture that are abundant enough which suggest that it is possible for a person to so mishandle the gift of salvation so as to lose it. Thus, Saint Paul mentions that he takes care (1 Cor. 9.27) lest after having preached to others, he be disqualified from obtaining the prize.

Easter reminds us that the faith of the saints was a dynamic encounter with the living and Risen Lord Jesus Christ. If you would have the “faith once delivered to the saints,” strive to know Jesus.

Faithfully,

Canon Greg+

Advertisements

About canongreg

I have been Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Wellsboro, PA since 1994.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s