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Midweek Musing for 11/30/22 - Prime the Pump

Much of the difficulty in being a Christian is the amount of faith required to trust in what is impossible to fully prove – at least on the earthly side of eternity.

For example, in the Apostle’s Creed that we typically recite in worship we say things like:

We believe in God the creator of heaven and earth

We believe in the immaculate conception

We believe in Jesus’s resurrection and ascension

We believe that the kingdom of God is real and that folks are already living in community there

We believe in God’s forgiveness which allows us to have faith in everlasting life for ALL in that promised day of God’s Kingdom.

The hard truth is there is no way to prove any of these things we believe. If I was dragged on a jury in a court of law and asked to convict any of these beliefs beyond a reasonable doubt the reality is that I could not. Not only are there doubts some of these things I believe in and center my life around cannot only not be proven, some of them at face value are literally insane. There is certainly no video evidence like they require for football replays!

That said the fact it cannot be proven does not lessen my belief. And while it tests my faith at times when I come through the other side of difficulties, I am wiser, and my faith is often stronger. And yes, I have to remind myself God never promised an easy road but instead promised to walk with me even in the valley of the shadow.

That idea of God being with me even in those hard and dry and scary places reminded me of a favorite modernish day parable.

This story entitled “The Parable of the Pump” describes so well both the difficulty and the importance of making leaps of faith.

A man was lost in the desert and was faced with the possibility of dying from thirst. He found an old shack containing a water pump, a jug of water, and a note. The note said that there was a leather gasket in the pump which needed to be saturated with water, and the jug had just enough water for that purpose. There was also a warning that the finder should not drink from the jar, not even one sip, for every drop was needed to prime the pump.

You can see the dilemma. If the man drank the jug of water, he would find temporary relief, but he would cripple the pump. If he believed the instructions and followed them, he would sacrifice the jug of water but would enable the pump to work. Once working, the pump would give him all the water he needed.

Did he drink the water or prime the pump? What would you have done? The man needed to trust the instructions, and, in the face of uncertainty, to believe. He was forced to take a leap of faith, believing instead of seeing. Our Lord Jesus challenges us to do the same. May we not be faithless but believing.

In this season of waiting may we have the faith to wait and believe knowing that the babe will bring the good news of great joy for all. And that this babe born in Bethlehem will become a king unlike any other. And that his story of grace will change generation after generation by declaring that the promised day of God is true. And may we then in our own generation continue to prime the pump of God’s unfailing wellspring of grace so as to release the waters of justice and righteousness and love through the actions of our very lives.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Alleluia. Amen.


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