The riches of faith


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Fish and bread.  And çay.

We had a bbq yesterday.  The whole family came along.  All packed into two vehicles.  Four generations (and two visitors).  Everything except the kitchen sink.  And no “gadgets or gizmos”.  The makings of a salad.  A bucket of fish to be grilled.  Bags of bread both bought and baked.  Huge bottles of water.  Sacks of wood for the fire.  Big metal grills gathered.

And this wonderful bit of kit …

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No more than 24 inches high.  With a small fire made of available twigs.  It is a çay maker.  A tea machine.  Black tea.  Turkish çay.  The drink that makes this nation what it is.

This machine was fired-up three times yesterday.  Each time a gathering.  Tulip glass cups shared and filled.  A family coming together over a few shredded leaves and boiling water. And, on this one occasion, even the men filling their own glasses as the conversation rippled around the gathering.

There was a symbolism of love this tea-drinking brought to mind far greater than another symbol …

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Holy Communion.  Another gathering.  This one also of family.  One of remembrance of love.

Perhaps the focus on remembrance – on gratitude – on worship – on sin – always sin … All of that “formality” making Holy Communion a gathering with less love than was on display around this small çay maker.

It brought home to me the absence of formality – of revered ritual – of the need for “preparation” – the absence of our religious need for “order”.  It was a demonstration of family – four generations of family – just doing what families do.

Allowing each other to be.  No sin needed at all.

Once again I wonder why faith celebrates sin more than it celebrates love.  Celebrates being forgiven.  Celebrates the memory of being forgiven.  Celebrates the One who Forgives.  Celebrates all the “stuff” that embeds my exclusion from your inclusion.

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Late in the day a stray dog wandered around the edges of the family.  A nursing mum.  Looking thin.  A stray unwanted “street dog”.  One that is usually “shooshed” away from the little children.  

Yet this haggard mutt was offered the leftovers – a small few crumbs – and then a second portion – and then all that was left of the collected leftovers (intended for the family dog).  It was an act of simple generosity.  A response that celebrated nothing.  A response not embedded in anything other than in kindness towards another living being.  A living being getting by as best they knew how.  Like all of us.

Once again there were biblical parallels.  Once again a pondering on all that faith celebrates and demands.  Because faith does demand.  It demands that we agree with the “I believes”.  And when we get into that territory we get into “biblically correct believes”.  Because being “biblically correct” is a belief of teaching.

And more and more I wonder …

Why this “taught believe” –  a biblically correct believe – a teaching of love without condition embedded in “faith believes” conditions.  Conditions which define faith.  Differentiate it from another.  Make that stray dog not just another living being but a “dog”.  Make my “sin” a faith-possession better than your different “faith-possession”.  A possession of yet more “faith believes”.  Wrapped up in “forgiveness believes”.  Wrapped up in “ritual and celebration believes”.

All of which wraps up love without condition in “conditional believes” and validates those “conditional love believes” as biblically correct.  And then rewards being biblically correct with titles and qualifications.

Which makes “faith believes” just more possessions – a currency to be counted and revered like any other.

And – if we are being “biblically correct” – is not “biblically correct” at all.

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3 thoughts on “The riches of faith

  1. when I was in college I had an experience I still wish churches would repeat. The on-campus ministry was called Emmaus House, and was run by the Roman church. It was a small gathering, which is probably why they could get away with it. The service was a normal RC mass, but at communion time instead of the host they passed around a loaf of fresh bread and a goblet of wine. The priest passed it to the nearest person who tore off a piece of bread the passed the loaf to the next person, took a sip of wine then passed that along. It felt more like a tight knit community, more than I have experienced before or since.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your story connects at a very deep level, thank you.

      I had the privilege of helping once with the bread and wine. What I remember is the intensity of eye-contact. The closest comparison I have is the eye-contact of two lovers – but at the communion rail with “lover” after “lover”. I mentioned it afterwards to the minister who had led communion and he knew exactly what I meant.
      I think there is an addictive quality of that intensity to the giver of bread and wine (far more than the recipient).
      It has seemed ever since to be an invitation to a pandora’s box of very mortal “challenges” and – for some – very mortal “opportunity”.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: And THAT changes everything | Just me being curious

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