Courageous Faith

Email Devotion, Easter 6

I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

–Psalm 121:1-2, NRSV

Well, there you have it.  Paul Hewson (better known as Bono) is suspicious of Christians.  Quoted in Sunday’s LRP “Faith & Values” section, Bono notes, “I find a lot of dishonesty in Christian art.”  (“Art”?  Really?)  Wondering why we don’t write about our bad marriages or about being upset with the government, he opines, “Why I am suspicious of Christians, is because of this lack of realism.”  I’m not sure to whom Mr. Hewson is listening, but evidently he hasn’t spent much time in any of our many ordinary congregations, where the struggle with realism goes on every day.  Admittedly we don’t write songs about these experiences for which we are paid millions, but I think we get realism just fine, thank you … sometimes we understand it a little too potently, right?

But this devotion isn’t really about Mr. Hewson.  He is just my hook.  It’s about realism, and those who have modeled courageous faith in the face of a real world.  Today’s sermonic engagement of the spiritual gifts of Evangelism, Faith, and Giving got me thinking about the spiritual models in my life … those who taught me the best about what our great faith has to offer us.  If you were in New Day, you heard about my mom, my pastor growing up, Pr. John Dragelin, and Pastor Geib.  You also heard about Dr. Carl Rasmussen and Emily, persons who passed through the life of St. Peter’s and taught me about faith and giving.  As I think about those who have had the greatest impact on my life, it is precisely those who faced the struggles of life head on.  Those who chose to wake up to a world they saw as good, because of the goodness of God and the goodness of creation itself.  We all have occasional moments where we experience transcendence and the miraculous.  God is alive in our world.  But we have just as many days where the world and its brokenness wants to convince us that it is the only show in town.  Thank goodness for those who have the courage to face the worst the world can offer us, and still proclaim the goodness and power of God.

So in the week ahead, why don’t you think about those persons who have been teachers of the faith in your life.  The teaching may be of a significant sort, or may be a snapshot moment in time.  It may be ongoing or sporadic.  It may be intentional or unintentional.  Think about those people you admire because of the way their faith comes alive, in good times, but especially when the world stands against them.  Think about people who are fearless in their willingness to engage a broken world, with God at their side.  Think about the “real” people.  Then consider writing a short note to Mr. Hewson to alert him your personal saint.  Or you could email it to me.  I’d love to see who the saints are in your life.

Omnipotent God, I pray for strength today.  Strength to see the world as you intended it when you spoke your creative world, and not as we have corrupted it.  Give me partners and mentors in cultivating this gift of spiritual sight, and may you make your presence known to me, you who are the source of all life and strength.  Amen.

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Rev. Craig Ross

Senior Pastor

The vibrancy of life here at St. Peter’s makes my service on our staff a joy and privilege. Visitation, teaching and preaching are the ministries that feed my pastoral identity, as together our staff and lay members share in our missional calling … Building a community of faith by God’s grace.