What do you believe?
Most of the time when I do these Midweek Musings, I try to tell you something or give you my thoughts on a topic. Perhaps, I share with you a story and a little bit of insight and leave you thinking. This time I am going to leave you with a question and it's a question that only you can answer.
I began to think about this question while I was reading a book entitled Joy Even on your Worst Days. It is written by Reverend Tom Are Jr. who is the pastor of the Village Presbyterian Church in Kansas City and like me is a fellow Presbyterian College Blue Hose. In the book he points to a word from the Greek language that we translate as I believe. Paul uses this word throughout his writing and especially in the book of Philippians - the Greek word is pisteuo.
Now we often use the phrase “I Believe.”
For example, I believe that pepperoni is the best topping on pizza.
Or I believe that the beach is a better place to vacation than the mountains.
I believe that grits taste best with cheese and butter. I believe that staying up late is better than getting up early or that the Falcons will have a winning record or that music from the 1960s was better than music from the 1990s.
We say we believe a lot of things…but how much we really believe them is another story.
Because some things we believe so deeply and are so engrained in us that they impact how we live out our daily life.
In his book Tom gives an example that I resonate with. Gravity.
Friends, I believe in gravity so much it impacts how I go about my daily existence.
Recently Laura, Sydney and I visited and hiked around Cloudland Canyon State Park. Okay hike may be overstating it—we took a nice long walk. Anyway, if you have ever been there, you will discover some breathtaking views of the Canyon below. These views are best seen by the edges of the steep cliffs.
It seems in a lapse of judgement when God installed these cliffs God did not install adequate railings. Actually, there were no railings.
Now I believe in gravity. In fact, I have such trust in it that I decided the view was just as good 5 or so feet back from the edge. There was no reason to tempt fate of my slipping from result of a loose walk or my own clumsiness because gravity is real.
Now I cannot see gravity. I cannot really explain gravity. But I believe it so much that I govern my life by it.
Friends, that is what the word pisteuo is all about. It is to believe in the sense of fully trusting even to the point of action.
Tom says it this way. “Trust is a little different than belief. Belief is an intellectual category. Often when we speak of believing something, we are Speaking of what we think. But if we trust something it shapes our choices. I can believe forgiveness is a good thing, but if I trust it, I might actually forgive someone.”
Every Sunday and worship we recite one of the creeds of the faith. Typically, like many of our Presbyterian brothers and sisters and others in the reformed tradition it is the Apostles Creed. When we go to say that creed together, I always preface it with the statement “Friends, what do you believe?”
Those words are not intended to be simply filler words in the worship service; instead, I intend for them to really pose a question.
You see in that time of worship I'm not asking what you think or what you feel. Instead, I'm asking what you believe to the point of trusting so that it even drives the actions of your life.
So, my question to close this musing is this: friends, what do you really believe?
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Alleluia Amen.