It’s clear from Scripture that Jesus came in fulfilment of Isaiah 53: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned each one to his own way. But the Lord has laid on Him the sins of us all,
For He was wounded for our transgressions, and with His stripes we are healed.
It’s also clear that the purpose of the church, and our lives in particular, is to participate in His healing mission. The fallen world is fraught with sin, disease and suffering, and our marriages, homes and institutions are all affected. Yet Jesus said, You are the light of the world. . .You are the salt of the earth. . . .He also said, I am the vine, you are the branches; make your home in me, and my Father and I will make our home in you. And you will bear fruit, and your fruit will last. (John 15) ,He sent out his disciples, giving them authority to cast out impure spirits and heal the sick. (Matt. 10).
It’s clear also that faith must result in loving deeds, and so I’m now calling this column “Faith Matters, Love Matters.” I Corinthians 13 ends with Now abideth faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love. I John says You cannot love God whom you have not seen if you don’t love your fellowman whom you have seen.
This Law of Love is just as real and significant as the laws of gravity or electromagnetism, etc.
As Cecil B. Demille, the producer of The Ten Commandments, said, “You cannot break the 10 Commandments, but you can break yourself against them.”
Faith is not believing in spite of evidence, but trust in One because of good evidence. For instance, the historical evidence for the Resurrection of Christ is overwhelming. Hope is the belief that things will turn out OK Love is seeking the best for another person, even if one will not benefit thereby. All three of these can be seen in my most recent poem:
Prayer, in Semi-extremis. (Or, The Old Pneumoniac.)
The sword of Charlemagne the Just
Is ferrous oxide, known as rust.
Great Caesar’s bust is on the shelf,
And I don’t feel so well, myself.1
“Down, but not out,” they say, about the boxer downed by Pacquio.
That’s me, Lord, and it will take more than a boxer to box me in!
My endless sputum is a dead filament, and signature of what has been,
reaching from mouth to little spittoon, so unlike milk from cow!
But brain and body barely function,
Really needing Thy holy unction.
Yet I know God was in Christ, healing sin and strife,
Forgiving sins, healing diseases, teaching us how to love.
Even now, you’re reaching down to pull me up towards life;
Others’ love and prayers and care are filigrees of grace
you are spinning down from your smiling, beckoning-forward face.
You are Source, Goal, Friend and Fellow-traveler towards a Land above.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains,
You raise me up, so I can walk on seas.
I’ll rise again, not because I’m Invictus, the Captain of my soul,2
But you’re Eternal Father, Strong to Save3 who makes us whole:
“Walk-your-faith” wife, and Doc, with medications and whole-
some foods, vitamins, herbs, prayers and your Word, beautiful and bright
pulling me “up, up and away” from what only seams, especially at night,
to be keeping me on the mat of universal sin and death and pain.