Building on the rock
"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Hebrews 11.1
Is thinking about faith a waste of time? That depends on one's attitude to life, because faith has to do with the foundations upon which we operate, the convictions which guide us and the hope we have for the future. Even atheists have faith, in that their belief in the non-existence of God affects their foundations, convictions and hope too. Subsequent questions might be: Is it human not to reflect on life, its direction and purpose? Or is philosophising about religion an expression of human being?
In a textbook I used in training for ministry, David Pailin likens a philosopher of religion to an architect, whose concern is not only to design a beautiful building which serves its purpose but also to check that its location is suitable, both in terms of its aspect and the quality of the ground upon which it is to be sited. Extrapolating from this, one might ask: how fit is my faith for life in the 21st century? Does what I profess in church on Sunday reflect how I live my life during the rest of the week? Do I even understand that profession, or have I simply swallowed a collection of well-rehearsed formulae?
None of this is antithetical to genuine faith and so the believer should not be afraid of examining what they/ we believe. Why? Because if God is truth, then anything which brings us nearer the truth brings us closer to God. So what better way to spend these 40 days of reflection, abstinence and preparation that we call Lent, than in pursuit of a deeper, more authentic understanding of that for which we hope and do not (yet) see? Or, to be more correct, for the One in whom we hope and expect, one day, to see face to face...