Faith Fitness (28 January 2014)

Brrr! It’s cold over here. We’re nearing record lows and the frigid, silent air is freezing ice crystals on my kitchen window. My son Sean is home today due to the cold-related school closure. This means that we are both working from home today and glad that we can still be productive .

Faith Fitness has no physical meeting today due to the weather but I’m still covering a topic that we will discuss next Tuesday. One of the oft’ reported statement about Faith Fitness is that we share and care. This means that we not only discuss religious topics but we support one another as we struggle with and seek to apply spiritual truths.

We are examining Jesus, both the person and the principles which he taught. The gist of an article we’re reading focuses on a return to basics, including a reexamination of what Jesus did and said. Such a discussion as this is necessary as we become distracted with other church concerns. We don’t have to argue about any of the historic claims regarding Jesus’ nature. The over-arching priority is discovering and applying principles of living which Jesus taught. Purely theological controversies seldom contribute to living a better life.

Truly, Jesus represented God’s love, mercy and grace. In reading about Jesus we are struck by how his power and witness came through his encounters with people. He challenged hearers to be open in heart and mind. When Jesus argued with people he seemed to have done so because they were unwilling to perceive things in a different, better way. Then as now, folks can become wise in their own conceit, substituting anger and misinformation for what should be peace and wisdom. The power of love that Jesus taught and lived continues to inspire us to follow God.

What does Jesus mean to you? Which of the teachings and activities for which he is known resonates with you? Since none of us is perfect, a challenge is to continue our spiritual journeys by becoming more of what God is calling us to achieve. No, not so much achieving in a worldly sense but rather how to apply love to every part of our lives. If church is a place where we come to learn how better to love then so be it. Perceived in this way, church is a means to an end rather than an end in itself. And if church is a big part of what prepares us to express lives of love then we need to examine if what we’re doing in church is really what we are supposed to be doing.

Our faith constantly challenges us to strive onward. Not that we earn God’s favor by a long list of accomplishments. What we hope to do is to apply principles of love and life to enhance the existence of every living creature. Our expression of live in this way ensures that we are on the right track (if even that track is heavy and hard at times). I pray that we will all continue to embrace God’s love, mercy and grace as we partner in faith and practice. –Reverend Hoxey