“I know your works—your love, faith, service, and patient endurance. I know that your last works are greater than the first.
In Euripides’ Electra, the chorus expresses its “small” or “little faith” (πίστιν σμικρὰν, pistin smikran) in a story about the actions of the god Zeus (lines 726-736). This Greek word, pistis, is a pretty good match for the English word “faith,” with its range of both religious and secular connotations. We, too, speak of having “little faith.” Yet how do we really envision degrees or magnitudes of faith? How might we measure it? Is “faith” or pistis an either/or proposition (you have it, or you don’t), or can you have a bit of faith -- and what would that mean?
When we have said the Lord’s Prayer during parking lot church, I have invited people to place their hands on their car windows as a gesture of faith, Πίστις. Even though we cannot hold one another right now, it will not always be so.
Faith is not an easy thing to keep. Many of the churches addressed in the first few chapters of Revelation are starting to weaken in their faith keeping. Continuing to live out their faith in Jesus in a hostile environment day after day is exhausting. It is no wonder that John repeatedly urges them to repent and reorient their lives and priorities.
We too grow weary. We ache for normalcy, for the simplicity of a Sunday morning of singing, sharing the Lord’s Supper, and holding hands as we say the Lord’s Prayer. These practices do so much to keep us strong in the faith and without them it can feel like that faith is slipping away.
Thankfully, while we are disciples in the faith, Jesus is a master. In the life, death, and resurrection of Christ we see just how faithful God can be to God’s people. When we stumble and grow weary, when we give up and let our faith drop to the ground, God keeps holding on. God is faithful and will keep that faith and keep us too.
Questions for Reflection
What faith practices have helped you keep the faith over the past few months? Who is an example of faithfulness in your life?
About the Blog
Journey through the season of Advent with daily updates on the adventures of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Belliacre, MI as they attempt to cobble together a Christmas Pageant with an unlikely cast of characters.
Stephanie is an art educator and a landscape/portrait artist. Her inspirations come from the amazing people she meets and the gorgeous state of Michigan as well as her home state of Florida. She and he husband love nature. They are out in the water during the summer months and on the snow in the winter enjoying the simple pleasures of life.