Next Wednesday Night we begin our 40 day journey of Lent and this time around we reflect on the reality that as disciples of Jesus, seeing is not believing – believing is seeing.
This Lent and Easter seem to be about seeing more of what God is wanting to do with us as his church here in his mission. We all know he has a plan for us and he has called us to be his presence among the people of this community. We all know that we are called to work together for the extension of God’s kingdom here. So, I want to be able to see more clearly the directions and the ways in which we will be a faithful church community – faithful to the Lord, his calling on our lives, his working among us for the sake of the extension of his Kingdom in this place.
But how do I “see’ these things of God? How do we Christians who belong to a local church community see these things? Where does more clarity about the lord’s plans and calling on our lives come from? How do we see more of what the Lord is leading us to work together on this year as we are shaped by the Spirit in his plans for us as individuals, families and church?
I look to Easter Sunday morning and find myself “seeing” a lot of seeing going on! Mary, John, Peter….all seeing the resurrected Jesus. But the seeing is not the big thing in the way the gospel writers proclaim their message. The believing is the point. In fact, the believing is what leads to the seeing. Without belief in who Jesus says he is, the seeing makes no sense. In fact, Easter faith is definitely not produces by human seeing, but by God showing himself – revealing himself in Jesus. The seeing only comes because of belief in Jesus. “Believing is seeing” in the Christian life.
But we live like “seeing is believing”. We are overtaken with scientific theory, rationalism and consumerism. What you see is what you get”, we say. “I will only believe it if I see it”, we say.
And yet, we must believe to live. For example, to be happily and healthily married we need to believe in the gift of marriage. To get up in the morning and go to work we must believe that the job is important, worth doing or at least leading to what we believe is important.
So, we are caught between not believing anyone or anything lest we get hurt or lied to or led up the garden path, and wanting to find belief and see life differently and more completely.
As Christians we are caught between wanting guarantees by seeing things to sure up our faith and our way of living out our faith, and simply trusting and believing the Word of him whom we cannot see – trusting that his Word and his gifts of faith are enough.
How do we see more of our life? How do we understand and know more of ourselves, our relationships, our life experiences and our Lord? How do we believe more in God’s presence, his promises, his plan for our lives and our church? How do we live this life together as church and see more of what the Lord is shaping us into in our time now?
The gospel answer is “Believing”. Believing in Jesus as the Saviour, the Lord, the Good Shepherd, the Cornerstone of our every day is what enables to glimpse God and what he is doing and who he is and what he is creating us to be as husbands, wives, parents, children, young people, students, colleagues, workers, business operators, lovers, friends and family…..
I’d like to see more and more of Jesus who died for me and rose for me and lives with me and for me. If I want to see my life as he does, know myself more fully and be able to be more complete and faithful in my relationships, then I need to begin with belief, because with Jesus “believing is Seeing”.
This Lent we will ponder what we can see when we believe in Him in;
1. Times of Testing (Seeing that Endurance is possible) ASH WED Feb 13th
2. Moments of Temptation (Seeing that Our life is based on Word of God) LENT 1, February 17th
3. Seasons of Doubting (Seeing that we are to be willing to be gathered close to God) LENT 2 February 24th
4. Living with Idolatry (Seeing that we can come and listen to God – living water) LENT 3 March 3rd
5. Experiencing Disunity and Conflict (Seeing that Reconciliation is possible and ministry we share) LENT 4 March 10th
6. Being Stuck in old ways preserving one’s self (Seeing that we need not have any confidence in self but plenty in God’s grace ad power) LENT 5 March 17th
7. Struggling with Timidity (Seeing that we are free to crying out to God for help, for life and proclaim him to others) PALM SUNDAY March 24
I have spent over a year now looking around Nuriootpa, and the Valley, thinking and praying about our community and asking questions about our place in it. I started thinking about how God might see this place. Can we see our place within this community? What does it mean to be a community’s memory-keeper (the Past)? How do we look squarely at our community as it is now (the Present), both as it presents itself to the outside world, and also those parts of the community that are relegated to the shadows? Do we have the faith to see our community as it will be (the Future): Nuriootpa and the Valley redeemed, a shining community of faith and love in God?
Believing is seeing.
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