“Faith is the reality of all that is hoped for; faith is the proof of all that is unseen…”
Today, along with 250+ women from Omaha and the surrounding areas I am celebrating faith…multi-faiths. Each January for the past twenty years we have set aside a day to celebrate the faith stories and lives of women of faith with presentations, reflective discussions, dynamic workshops, delicious meals and inspiring creative prayer rituals. This year, our 20th anniversary celebration is Women of Spirit Conference: “Weaving Women’s Wisdom: A Multi-Faith Gathering of Women”. A woman from each faith tradition (Muslim, Jewish and Christian) will share her faith story, integrating the way her life reflects the theme of ‘believing, belonging and behaving’ from her unique lived experience. However, it is not a day to simply listen, but to also personally reflect and discuss how each of our own lives integrates the three ‘b’s of faith.
Today’s readings focus on faith. I wonder sometimes if faith is more of a ‘noun’ – a thing to be had, or, is it more of a ‘verb’, a dynamic being/happening in our lives?
In Hebrews, the author shares many faith stories from the Jewish
tradition of people who have lived their faith in their God. Sarah
and Abraham’s belief in their God to willingly pull up stakes for a new land
and life with a promise of descendants even though they were beyond child-bearing
age certainly witnesses an action that from all appearances is ludicrous.
Does God expect bizarre trust and actions?
And, finally, in Mark’s gospel, Jesus asks his frightened disciples who have awakened him in the storm on the lake, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith”? If they had trusted that God was with them in Jesus, would they have acted differently in the storm? (I know that God is with me; however, I’m sure that I would have been one of the first to jostle Jesus awake! )
What I believe does have an impact on how I live my life. However, it is because I belong to a community of believers, with a tradition of stories of God’s presence in our midst that I am sustained, encouraged and challenged to reflect on how God is present in my life. It is through my faith community with others that I am challenged to live out my beliefs and live into the reality of the things ‘that are hoped for…’.
My prayer today is that we each reflect on the three ‘b’s of faith - our believing, belonging and behaving - and the difference in our lives because God IS present in our midst.
(If you wish further information on our Women of Spirit Conference, please go to: http://marian.creighton.edu/~wos )
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