| By Reverend Father Charles E. Irvin

The adventure that is FAITH

Movements, journeys, changes … they fill the Gospels. The Bible opens with God coming into the Garden searching for Adam and Eve. God’s on the move in the world’s genesis. Joseph takes Mary to faraway Bethlehem when she’s nine months pregnant! Jesus begins his public ministry by retreating to the desert, then returning to Nazareth to begin his public ministry. Thereafter, He’s on the road as He makes His journey to Jerusalem.

Movement, pilgrimages, transitions, changes: our relationship with God is not static and there is nothing static about His pursuit of us. The Gospels set forth Jesus’ life in one continuous journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem. There follows His passage through suffering and death on the cross into His resurrection. Then He’s out of the tomb and moving again, eventually ascending into heaven.

The Apostles, immobilized and huddling in the Upper Room, are suddenly swept up in a strong wind – with tongues of fire fluttering down upon them. They burst from their self-imposed immobility into the public square, putting Christianity on the move at its genesis. The Christian saga begins in Jerusalem, moves through Asia Minor (Turkey) to Greece, to Rome, and from there – until now – out into “the missions.”

Our faith life is a faith journey. It’s not supposed to be static. When faith is not static, people find it an exciting journey. They like the changes, the transformations, and the movement toward a greater understanding, appreciation and relationship with God. Some folks are upset when our Church is “on the move,” when she mutates into newer forms. Some people are upset when, having left the Church, they return and find that “things have changed.”

Other folks have a hard time when their marriages change, grow, and move into “new territory.” They don’t like it when their kids grow up, when their spouses develop and move into new careers, or when major parts of their lives are forced into change. Gimme That Old Time Religion they sing, never realizing that the Church is ever new because her Divine Spouse is ever on the move. Yet, paradoxically, she is the same Bride of Christ as when Christ gave Himself to her.

I am who I was when I began my life’s journey … and yet I am not the same. How do we handle our journeys?

We seem to have picked up a mistaken notion that Christ and His Church will always be doing the same things in the same old ways. That’s not a notion you’ll find in the Gospels, in the Bible, or in Christian history.

God calls you. And when you hear His voice and decide to respond to His call, you’ll have to get up and move. Faith, after all, is a quest that calls us from where we’ve been, beckoning us to journey to where we can be.

Which is why we are here together in FAITH.