Practice Showing Up
Beloved in Christ,
Over the next three Sundays in Lent, our gospel readings are from John. They are all long, winding passages, full of contrast and paradox: blindness and sight, darkness and light, death and resurrection. They all are more like poetry that leaves an impression than essays that proceed in an orderly way to a clear conclusion.
In each of them, a key question is what it means to believe in Jesus. We generally assume that “belief” refers to something we do with our brains. We think a thing is either true or it is not. But in John’s gospel, belief, or faith, is fundamentally relational. It’s a commitment to a person more than assent to an idea.
Like any significant relationship in our lives, faith in Jesus is a practice and a journey. When we love a friend, a spouse, a child, or anyone else, it requires us to show up consistently, to practice being with them, to bring our whole selves to them. It’s not something that you either get right or you don’t, it’s about faithfully showing up over time.
I hope you will hear that as an invitation to extend the same kind of grace to yourself that God does as you go through the natural seasons of your own journey of faith. What counts is not what you think or feel in any given moment, but that we keep showing up, with God and with one another, through prayer, through deep relationships, through reading and hearing the scriptures. Little by little, step by step, God works through every time we make ourselves available to God to ground our souls and lives more deeply in Jesus, so that we show up as disciples and a church that looks and acts like Jesus wherever we are.
I look forward to simply showing up with the strange, complex, challenging gospel readings these last weeks of Lent, simply consenting to the Jesus who shows up there, and shows us the utter fullness of God’s liberating love.
Grace and peace,
The Right Reverend Craig Loya