Where is Faith?

Where is Faith?

Well, I wrote Reflections about love. I wrote yesterday about hope.

I’ve painted myself into a religious corner here, one that I welcome; I need to write about faith.

What does faith mean to you?rosary

I grew up with the traditional Roman Catholic definition of faith:  Intellectual assent, and belief in things unseen. Particularly intellectual assent to the doctrines of the church:  These are things like the Trinity, the dual nature of Jesus of Nazareth, that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah), the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and many other “articles of faith.”

However, I learned from Sisters of the Humility of Mary; Sisters of St. Joseph; Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph; and Dominican and Franciscan sisters is that faith can also be understood as trust.

Faith can be trust in that which we most value. Faith can be trust in that which we hold most dear.

What do you trust?

Do you trust yourself? Do you trust your own persistence, resilience, and hope?

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Do you trust dear ones? Are there beloved people who support and encourage you? Do you trust beauty? Do you trust in things you believe to be true?

Do you have faith in these things?

Do you trust that there is an embracing Source of Life that supports you? Do you have faith in the Source of Life?

What do you have faith in?

In Rev. Dr. Robert Hardies’ sermon “Beautiful People,” he discussed the relationship between vulnerability and strength. Many of us are very aware right now of both these things.

I trust both of these things, vulnerability and strength.

orange and black butterfly on a flower with a long stemOur vulnerability allows us to feel thoroughly. Our vulnerability tells us
where we are hurt and where our boundaries have been transgressed. Our vulnerability tells us lets us know what we need. Our vulnerability also allows us to recognize the vulnerability in others, the need and hurt in others. Our vulnerability allows us to recognize solidarity:  I’m queer and have disabilities and am white, and other people are Muslim and brown and immigrants. We share vulnerabilities though our identities are different. And our vulnerabilities also point toward are need for one another, for caucuses, for identity-based gatherings.

Vulnerability rattles us into needing our strength.

I have faith in our vulnerability.

Our strength, on the other hand, and in concert with vulnerability, allows us to respond to our own and others’ vulnerability. Our strength allows us to make change. Our strength allows “[Our lives] to speak louder than [our] lips,” as the Unitarian minister Rev. William Ellery Channing wrote.

three ancient columns in the ruins of the Oracle's temple at DelphiOur strength allows us to continue work we’ve already begun. Our strength allows us to recognize where we can act, and it gives us the power to take action. Our strength vitalizes us, restores us, and reinforces itself. Our strength brings us together when we haven’t known how to be together before. Our strength gives us courage, and courage is essential to make change.

I have faith in our strength.

I encourage you to consider where your faith is. I encourage you to live into your faith.

I have faith in Unitarian Universalist aspirations. I have faith in the aspirations of the tradition of Wicca of which I am a part. These aspirations include valuing each person as a unique expression of the Universe. And they include loving and respecting Earth as home and self.

Unitarian Universalism aspires to be a force for social justice, for racial justice, for voting rights, for environmental justice. The Wicca of which I am a part aspires to environmental wholeness, to authenticity, integrity, compassion, and wisdom.

I have faith in their aspirations.

And you?

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