27 October 2009

Faithfulness, a two-way street


Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands;
serve the Lord with gladness
and come before his presence with a song.

Know this: The Lord himself is God;
he himself has made us, and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and call upon his Name.

For the Lord is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.

It wasn't until rather recently that I became aware of the way that faith (and faithfulness) works like a two-way street.  I had really always thought that faith was something that "we had" in God, or in something else.  For example, we have faith (or trust, really) that the earth will continue to rotate causing us to see "the sun come up" each day.  We, in the church, make claims all the time about having faith in God and the benefits when we "have" this attribute.

The other lane of this two-way street is what is mentioned in the Jubilate, which is a prayer/hymn that we often say during Morning Prayer.  In it, we pray and we affirm that "the Lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, and his faithfulness endures from age to age."  Here, it is God's faithfulness that endures.  Here is it God's faithfulness that gives us hope and joy.  "Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands."  This is a recognition of the active and dynamic way that the scriptures describe God, God is not merely a figure sitting on some holy throne far away, rather, God is being faithful.  God is being faithful to us, to God's own promises, to God's love for the world and all her peoples.  In John's gospel, we learn that God is love, and one could say that God's faithfulness to His love for us is central and is a bedrock of our own faith as well.

We should find great comfort in the fact that the God in whom we put our trust, the God in whom we have faith, also is faithful to us, and is faithful to us to the end.  "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."  God is ever faithful to us.  Now, that is something that can rouse me from my spiritual slumber on this rainy Fall day!

"the Lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, and his faithfulness endures from age to age."

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

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