Week 5: Faith and Trust #leaner4lent by Pete Joyce
As I sit in a deserted Chapel, on a nearly deserted campus, on the anniversary of the first lockdown writing this, how much has changed, in the life of the university and the world, is foremost in my mind. During the last twelve months, personally, as a family, we have lost ten people to the covid pandemic and the national death toll this morning stood at over 126,000 people. Each one of those is a mum, daughter, son, husband, sister, brother, wife. Each one of those people is needed and loved by someone. They say that each death affects six people so that is a minimum of 756,000 people that have been touched by the death of someone. Then there is the sheer enormity of the grief connected with the loss of jobs, freedom, security and peace of mind. The list sadly goes on.
How is it then, that I can sit here and write about the God of love? The God whose son Jesus Christ raised Lazarus from the dead but seems unable to halt a pandemic that has touched the lives of billions of people globally? The God that asks for faith and trust in the name of His risen Son? Why have the last twelve months not turned me into an agonistic or atheist?
The simple answer is because I have faith and trust in triune God that comes to us in the form of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The Father knows what it is like to witness His Son die upon the cross. The Son whose ability to weep at the death of his friend Lazarus allows me to lament the death of so many people and the Holy Ghost that reveals them to me through Holy Scripture.
But it is deeper than that. In my daily reading of scripture, I come across those that doubted their faith; those that tried to run from their faith and those whose experience showed them a faith that they did not know that they had. Scripture, like Covid, reveals stories, of both the greatest acts of human kindness and the greatest acts of human betrayal. But among this narrative, that inter-winds between the human and divine spheres, there remains one abiding truth. That the Father that loved the world into existence loved me before I was in my mother’s womb and asks for no more and no less than I believe in Him.
Traditionally in Lent people give something up. But this #leaner4lent the chaplaincy team has offered some suggestions of things you can do towards your spiritual and physical health. So here is my challenge for you. Pick up a bible and read any passage, page, chapter, book, but read it as human interaction with God, rather than a God interacting with humans. I think you will be pleasantly surprised how much more the text comes to life and how accessible it and how much more it draws you into that moment of trust, as St. Augustine said, where “Faith is to believe what we do not see [and] The reward of faith is to see what we believe”.