THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

It is easy to reduce faith to a system of ideas that we simply have to accept. It is easy to make salvation nothing more than praying the right prayer and signing the right card. But, if we do this, we rob ourselves of the true power and value of faith. A faith that is simply a set of ideas does not change our very lives and give us a new way of seeing or a God’s-Reign way of being. The faith that leads to new birth, which Jesus offered to Nicodemus, is a transforming encounter with a God who leads us into a whole new world – the world of God’s Reign, where children are the leaders, the meek inherit the earth, and the poor, the mourners and the peace makers are the recipients of God’s presence and grace.

Once we have embraced this faith, we cannot help but begin to live this new life in such a way that it makes a difference in our families, our places of work and leisure, our communities and our churches. Once we have been born anew, we find ourselves recognising Christ in those we would normally shun, and we begin to care about issues that we would normally ignore. It is not our obedience that leads us to life, but our faith. However, faith that does not change who we are and how we live, is not faith at all. Ultimately believing does not happen in our heads alone, but in our whole being, and in lives that, in small but significant ways, touch the least with grace and compassion, and seek to make the world a more hopeful, celebratory and gracious place.

This week we explore this radical, life-giving faith.

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