Reading – Philemon 4-6
Let us give thanks to our Maker always and everywhere in our thought, our deeds, our lives. This passage just teems with a certain ebullience, not to mention striking theological language, at least to me.
The most impactful phrase as I read was “your partnership in the faith”; to me, it perfectly (or near-perfectly) expresses what faith is: a relationship. Faith, as Terrence Tilley expressed in an entire book, is not just a matter of belief in a god and/or creeds. We all have faith of some sort, even if we are agnostic or atheist.
Faith is the ongoing act of us devoting ourselves to one thing (enlightenment, money, the government, etc.) more than all others and in turn receiving the energy and guidelines for our day-to-day life from that thing. Therefore, faith is much more dynamic than most of us usually imagine, involving a give and take of love and energy between the worshipper and the worshipped. This is especially true when the thing one worships is a person, the Person, the personal Divine of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam that is unlike and far beyond any thing in the universe.
In Christianity in particular, we believe that the Other reaches out to us above all in love and mercy, giving us the choice to respond with love or to put our faith in something else. The Other makes Himself very vulnerable in revealing Himself to us and allowing us the freedom to reject Him, and we are asked to likewise be vulnerable and trust the Other in a relationship of faith.
What love the Most High must have for us to seek “partnership” with us, to envision and extend to us an eternal existence of fulfillment and joy with and in Him. What love! Jesus especially shows us this new life and transformed existence as originating in a free and total partnership with God, giving us through his life, death, and resurrection the example and means to imitate him.
Please, O Holy Author of creation, inspire us to place our hands, hearts, and souls into you Hands, Heart, and Life, that we may engage in a relationship, a partnership, a faith with you, both now and forever. Thank you. ~