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Weekly Reflection

(11-15-2001)

Hello Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Read Romans Chapter 10 in your Bibles.

I am not the most coordinated person in the world. When I was kid my family always had a go-kart. My lack of coordination was generally not a problem except that I took a long time becoming comfortable with which pedal was the accelerator and which pedal was the brake. You can imagine the problems I had. There was one time when we were riding around in the backyard and it was my turn. I slid down into the driverís seat and put on the "cool" helmet we had. I took and started doing doughnuts in the grass. The turf was flying. Then, just briefly, the wheels grabbed and I was propelled in a direction I did not want to go. I was headed straight for the brand new tree my father had just planted. I immediately stomped on the pedal. Unfortunately it was the accelerator. I ran the go-kart up the tree skinning it of its bark and allowing my nose to hit the steering wheel at the same time. Fortunately no permanent damage was done to the tree or to me.

The next time I got into the go-kart, my dad took a few moments and repeated over and over again while pointing to the proper pedal, "Brake. Accelerator. Brake. Accelerator. Brake. Accelerator. There were many more times when I made that mistake again, and my father would again tell me over and over again. Youíll be happy to know that eventually it became second nature to me, and I usually donít have this problem when I drive. Our mini-bike was another matter altogether.

With much in life we have to be told over and over again what we are to do. How many times do parents have to say, "Get your elbows off of the table?" "Donít chew with your mouth open." "Clean up your room." "No, you canít sweep the dirt under the bed." "Donít talk with food in your mouth." "Donít forget to say ĎPleaseí and ĎThank you.í" "Use soap." "Change your underwear." "Brush your hair." "Brush your teeth." "Make your bed." You get the idea. These things of living a polite and clean life have to be told to us over and over again. They are not within us. They must come to us from the outside. They are external.

The same is true of faith. It is not within us. It must come from the outside. It is external. Before we can say for ourselves, "I believe." Before believing in God becomes part of our nature. Before faith is internalized. We must be told over and over again of Godís love for us. We must hear the stories of Godís faithfulness. We must see Godís love in action as others reach out to us. We must have Godís living Word act on us and create that faith within us.

Paul in the passage from Romans says that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. But before we can call we have to believe and before we believe we have to hear. Before we hear someone has to tell us. This is not a once and done deal. We have to be told over and over again of Godís love in Christ for us. Life is messy. Suffering comes. Doubts haunt us. Despair looms over us. Or things may go so well that we forget God and begin to take the credit for ourselves. So we come to where the community of faith is gathered each week and we hear the Good News again. Our faith is deepened. We take the bread and the wine. We see that Godís Living Word is for us, and we believe. We read the Scriptures and God acts on us creating faith. Then and only then does it become second nature, almost automatic, to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved.

Pray that God will send Godís Living Word to you through Scripture, a loving word, and in the community of faith gathered. Pray that the external faith told will become the internal faith beheld.

Christís Peace,
Pastor Scott
412-682-6886

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