• Steven Marsh

Claiming the Faith: a Reflection on Psalm 147, Isaiah 48:12-21, Galatians 1:18-2:10 and Mark 65:1-13

What are the signs that the Christian Faith has been claimed by an adherent?

May I suggest a bias toward the brokenhearted is clearly evident. Individual followers of Jesus, along with the presence of the church in its community, would visibly be identified as people and place that listen, counsel, instruct, and walk with the brokenhearted in and through the pit on to the other side.

May I suggest an understanding of the issues, but most importantly the human condition. Life hurts. The human experience is fundamentally broken at its core. That is the imago Dei is encased, clouded by sin. Both intended and unintended consequences inform the outcomes in our lives. God’s grace is transformative.

May I suggest that all of our experiences are ways that God teaches us. The question is whether or not we believe in God as God is made known in and through Jesus Christ.

May I suggest that Paul is an example of one who claimed his faith as his own. Oh, I do not agree with everything Paul said and did. And my disagreement is rooted in navigating the various interpretations of his controversial teachings. Paul boldly and consistently said what he meant, meant what he said and lived his core commitment to Jesus. And, Paul’s imprisonment verifies the Faith he claimed as his own.

May I suggest that when we authentically engage others with the Faith and are rejected, there is freedom to move on without guilt. The thing we must wrestle with, however, is when do we know for sure when what we say and live is “refused?”

There is nothing easy about claiming the Christian Faith as our own, at least from my perspective. I pause to reflect. I wonder if assisting people to claim the Faith as their own is really the Church’s desire?

Scripture readings are taken from the two-year daily lectionary cycle which follows the liturgical calendar and begins on the First Sunday of Advent.

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