“Walking in Faith”
He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Faith. It can be a noun, a metonym standing for one’s beliefs, practices, the entire history of Christianity. The faith. But “faith” can also have the sense of trust, active believing. The first has a feel of solidity. Firmness. Set. Proven. The second only exists if it is being exercised. The second is less solid, more uncertain and unfolding. To walk in faith. To trust the person. To be called to follow even when you don’t know all that will come.
This summer we consider the call to live by faith. The second sense of faith. To let go of our certainty enough so that we can listen and be open. To resist the urge to delegitimize every voice or opinion which challenges one’s own. To see the days ahead as holding possibility for the one willing to walk by faith. Ironically, there is some human impulse that wants to take the uncertainty out, to eliminate risk and ambiguity. Ironically, “The Faith” often wants to give answers for everything. But Jesus’ call to follow was never to follow a manual, it was to follow a person. To listen. To respond.
On June 24th, our gospel passage will be the story of the disciples in the wind and the waves, while Jesus sleeps in the boat. At their panic, Jesus calms the storm. But he asks “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And while the disciples respond with awe, and perhaps greater confidence/faith, I suspect Jesus’ questions are more of an indictment than a doxology. He calms the storm, and in the calm they trust; because they prefer the calm, the secure, the stable. But Jesus insinuates that there was not really cause for alarm even in the storm. Faith as active, existing only when being exercised.
How do we balance our desire for security and stability, with the call to live and walk by faith? These are questions for us to consider. How does this tension play out in our personal lives? In the life of Calvary Presbyterian Church? Can we have faith, and move by faith, without demanding that Jesus calm the storms first? Can we hear an uncomfortable call without trying to get Jesus to be subdued and predictable and conforming (Mark 3:21 – “When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, ‘He has gone out of his mind.’”)?
Can we live in faith, even before the calm, even without the calm, or is our faith only in service to finding the calm? Questions to consider this summer.