Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
The number thirteen is unlucky in several cultures, including our own. Most tall buildings eliminate the thirteenth floor and the media make a big deal out of any Friday the Thirteenth. I don't put much stock in superstition and the notions of "lucky" and "unlucky" don't matter all that much to me.
I am big on hope, the hope rooted in a relationship with a God who is present with us in the person of Jesus, the Christ. As the decades have passed I am somewhat less sure what this means because I have come to realize that we live in an often cruel, violent, and seemingly heartless world. At times the confident, black and white faith of my youth seems hopelessly naive. Still, I am also more aware of the kindness and generosity of individuals whose lives have been shaped by their Christian faith.
I had a conversation with a friend recently who is pondering a return to church after a couple of years absence. After a lifetime of very active involvement he essentially "fired" organized religion, fed up with the conservative theology of the congregation he was attending and the pettiness of church life. After two years away he plans to find a new faith community. Why? Because he finds existence without a Christian community rather hopeless. He sees that so many people are scurrying around after material things, and while some talk about working toward a better world, they aren't doing much. Another conversation with my daughter-in-law who grew up outside the church led down the same path. She finds that many of their peers are earnest about making a difference they aren't finding a forum in which that can happen.
I don't know about Lucky 13 but I want this year to be Hopeful 13. My resolution is to be as simply faithful to Christ as I can be, and to do so in the company of those who share this goal.
Christ be with all of you in this year of our Lord, 2013.