Monday, March 29, 2010

Personal and Universal

I'm working my way through the latest (although not very new) issue of Weavings. W. Paul Jones wrote an article for the issue called Inside out as Upside Down. The essay begins with the idea that "faith is unavoidable, for to live entails wagering on some 'vision'." We Christians risk everything -- our lives and our death -- on "little more than gossip about rumors." He believes that our vision has two overlaying dimensions:

...the deeply personal and the expansively cosmic. The Crucifixion provides the focus for the personal dimension, the Resurrection for the cosmic.
And then I was interrupted, and haven't been able to finish the article. That idea (or my interpretation of it, since I haven't seen how Jones is carrying through, yet) struck me, and has me thinking.

Our faith is deeply personal. We need that personal relationship with God. We need to be able to say, "Amazing grace...that saved a wretch like me." And we need to be able to sing, "I'll fly away." We stand amazed that we are able to sing "It is well with my soul" no matter what is happening around us. Our faith requires a personal dimension. Christ died for me, and if there had been no one else, he would have died for only me. He loves me that much.

Our faith also has a cosmic dimension. My personal relationship with God -- my awareness of his love for me -- requires a response. Inherent in the faith is the idea that I am to love my neighbors -- that Christ loves all of us, and that if I am to love Christ, I must love those he loves, as well. Because of the universality of my faith, I can sing "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling." I can sing "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms," and understand that the song means I am depending upon God, but also on the fellowship of my friends.

A vision that motivates my faith -- born among the gossip of rumors -- finds its strength in a personal relationship with God along with a communion of saints. Both of incredible gifts from the Creator of the Universe -- to me, to you, and to all of us.

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