Thursday, April 20, 2017

Margins of Life

My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? James 2:1

Easter gatherings with their celebrations are fast becoming memories as plans for Spring Break and summer vacations begin to fill the calendar. Before life fills our plates too full with other thoughts, I would like to spend the next several weeks sharing some of the insights I gleaned during these recent weeks of Lent. I hope you will look back over your markings in the margins of books read or the scribbles in your journals and find His presence again now, asking how you can make your faith more alive. Spiritual growth is more than asking questions, searching for answers, or finding holy guidance. In these next weeks I will share some of the words and phrases and thoughts that are challenging me to examine myself before God and move to a deeper level of spiritual understanding and response. I would love to hear your thoughts (you can comment at the bottom of the blog post - or contact me here via email with your thoughts.) 
"Where faith is really faith it cannot be shoved to the margins of life." Gerhard Lohfink
One book I have been reading during Lent, Called to Community, The Life Jesus Wants for His People, is comprised of a myriad of Christian educators, writers, theologians, philosophers, pastors, and martyrs, some living long ago and some living now. In one such chapter, Gerhard Lohfink, German New Testament professor, uses this phrase that true faith cannot be shoved to the margins. We are called to Christianity by faith in Jesus, even faith itself is a gift from God. So why would we think that faith is something to hoard or boast about, keeping it to ourselves? When does our busyness begin to dictate our response to God? How am I keeping my faith shoved to the margins of life?

While church is defined as "a community of Believers", it does not infer that all the Believers will be the same, all the same gender, all the same economic level, all the same nationality; rather, even in our differences we have common beliefs. We must all believe that Jesus is the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary, sinless and yet betrayed, crucified and died on the cross, and resurrected to new life. These common core beliefs of Christianity bind our hearts and minds and souls with Amazing Grace because of Perfect Love. But, we have to be certain that our individual faith-story isn't just the words to the Apostles Creed, the Newsboys song "We Believe" or Psalm 23. Faith cannot be shoved to the margins and still reflect a true, growing relationship with God, not the margins of society, not the margins of our families, not the margins of our calendars. True faith must be more than scribbled notes on the margins of our Bibles, the good intentions that skip across the margins of our thoughts, the generosity that walks passed the margins of opportunities. "Where faith is really faith it cannot be shoved to the margins of life." -dho

**Again, I would love to hear your thoughts (you can comment at the bottom of the blog post or contact me here via email with your thoughts.)