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Weekly Reflection

(10-04-2001)

Hello Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Please read Hebrews 11 in your Bible.

Over the summer we took our usual trip to Atlanta. In order to make the drive more pleasant my wife went to the library and checked out several childrenís books on tape. One of these books was Matilda Bone by Karen Cushman. In this book the main character, Matilda, finds herself living in common conditions after being the student of a well off priest. Set during the 1600ís the book follows Matilda as she learns to be a bonesetter, and as she learns to accept her new life. At one point in the book Matilda is reflecting on her own self-doubt and the uncertainty of medicine and life. She thinks to herself, "Could I go on just believing and not knowing?"

This question is the ultimate question of anyoneís faith struggle. Each of us is called upon by God to trust in God by faith. Faith is not the same as knowing. We cannot know that Christ rose from the dead in the same way that we can know that flower bulbs planted in the fall will bloom in the spring. We cannot know that God is the creator of all living things in the same way we know that the birds outside our windows are alive. We cannot know that the Holy Spirit is working in our lives in the same way that we know the wind blows the fallen leaves. Belief or faith is not the same as our empirical modern understanding of knowing.

But can we go on in life "just believing and not knowing?" Abraham and Sarah believed Godís promise that they would be the parents of a great nation and they left their homes to assume the life of nomads. Moses believed that God would be with him when he went down into Egypt to petition Pharaoh to let his people go. Miriam believed that God would be with her when she stepped into the divided Red Sea. Paul believed that God would be with him as he traveled throughout the Greco-Roman world proclaiming Christ. Jesus believed that God would raise him from the dead as he hung on the cross dying for each of us.

There are many things in life that we cannot know for certain. We must trust, believe and hope that Godís care for us is real, that God is at work in our lives, and that God will never leave us comfortless. This is the essence of faith as Paul describes it in the book of Hebrews: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1 NRSV) Going on with only believing and not knowing is faith and hope without which we despair. Going on with only believing and not knowing is living life. Give thanks to God that the Holy Spirit has instilled in you this faith and abundant life.

Pray for hope, belief and faith. God will provide.

Christís Peace,
Pastor Scott
412-682-6886

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