A living faith must grow, doubt, question, seek, examine, explore, and be at home with change and transformation. A living faith can neither rest on its laurels, nor become stagnant in its hope. A living faith is what Lent is all about, and this means trying to breathe new life into the whole concept of resurrection.
So much of American faith has become nothing more than bumper sticker religion, offering easy answers and woefully simplistic platitudes, both of which fail miserably to address the complex issues of our times and world.
We seem to be a religious culture which believes we alone will dispense the winning ticket to Heaven; use the Bible for indoctrination, not inspiration; and treat the Holy Spirit as non-intellectual, challenging of the status, or forbidding deep questions.
When faith becomes rigid in its beliefs, void of graciousness and generosity, and promotes the notion that God is highly selective and harshly judgmental, then this is a dead-end faith. This is the same white washed religion of the biblical Pharisees, who Jesus stated were full of dead man’s bones.
Lent calls upon us to come alive; Lent demands that we notice and pay attention; Lent challenges us to address those issues which threaten our planet, our people, our safety, our sanity, our worth and our value.
Lent does not orbit our lives, but lands right smack dad in the midst of them. Lent does not have pretty soft clean hands, but hands that are barked and soiled and cut and bruised by the task of building the Kingdom.
This Lent, ask yourself in faith, if Jesus is American, white, southern, Republican, affluent, and, isn’t this akin to creating God in our own image? This Lent, ask if your experience of Jesus is as a hater of Muslims, Jews, gays, feminists, liberals, or cultural outcasts? Does Jesus expect our leaders and citizenry to espouse a cloned creedal faith, or was Jesus wise in choosing twelve disciples who could not agree on much?
A living faith is not afraid of entering the mystery of not knowing, or the intellectual striving so eager to understand, or the miracle of being speechless when we have the most to say.
O, Lord of Lent, let us think long and hard about it…and then pray even longer and harder. Amen.
Reverend William R. Grimbol has spent the past 30+ years helping people create and develop strong spiritual connections with loved ones and God. He is also a published author, with over a dozen books to his credit.