Christmas; the mass, the celebration of Christ. In 2015 do we still celebrate Christ? Do we allow ourselves to consider the belief that God came to us in human form? Our minds cannot begin to understand this concept and this is where faith steps in.
The Archbishop of Canterbury doubted after the Paris bombings; quite a natural reaction.
That’s what faith is; belief without logical proof.
Faith lives in the heart and it is quite normal for humans to doubt the one they love when they cannot see the whole picture and when the loved one seems to have let us down.
The Psalmist David doubts God at times and appears to hold on to his faith by just a thread!
Check out Psalm 88 to witness the “abandoned by God” experience. Job has very good doubt credentials too!
Mother Teresa must have seen some sights from hell. Doubt faced John Kavanaugh, a Jesuit philosopher and he asked her to pray for clarity. Her response was: “I have never had clarity. What I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you will trust God.”
She had trust and faith, not certainty.
Many people try to intellectualise faith and that is how radicalisation creeps in.
Thinking replaces being. No struggle, no doubt, no patience for spiritual experience. Quick answers are demanded. When faith has no space for doubt, religion creeps in and faith creeps out.
Faith and salvation is the Christmas gift which was presented to us over 2,000 years ago.
Fully human with all the needs we have but also fully God. “He is the image of the invisible God,” so wrote Paul in Colossians 1.15.
It is normal to cherish gifts, so how can we look after the Christmas gift of faith? We obviously keep our physical bodies in shape, for example, by exercise and healthy diet. Our emotional nature may be helped by therapies like counselling, whereas crosswords and sudokus are just some of the things recommended to keep our intellect sharp.
Prayer is the tool to aid our spiritual dimension.
As we visit the cinema this festive season we could have been encouraged to pray if the advert for the Lord’s Prayer had been accepted.
“Thy will be done on earth as in heaven,” is surely what the world needs right now rather than the will of Daesh. We are looking to weapons, to security forces, to help us in the present plight. Why not look to prayer too?
“Deliver us from evil,” is exactly the cry of us all when these atrocities strike, so why are people so reluctant to give prayer a go?
Faith is from the heart. Radicalisation is from intellectualised religion, from a brain washed mind.
Christ rejected the trappings of religion, the trappings which turn so many away from belief in a god.
“Our father,” reveals the simplistic spiritual experience on offer to a world in need.
There is nothing to fear from the Lord’s Prayer.
As Christ gave the Lord’s prayer to the world he said: “If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give the holy spirit to those who ask him.”
My prayer is that, as we buy Christmas gifts for our children this year, we consider His gift to us.