What Will He Find? — October 4, 2011

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It sometimes is a strange sensation–to leave your home for a couple of weeks and then return, to resume normal life.  You have known these people for years but just a brief absence can occasionally produce awkward moments, adjustments and even a fussiness or pickyness that was not there originally. It’s because we’re all looking for something and when we are in our common, everyday lives, we’ve already decided to settle for something less. But when we depart for a season and return, our expectations can be higher and therefore make us a bit touchy. 

That’s what I find interesting about this observation from Jesus.  “When the son of man returns to earth, what will he find?”

Look at it from his perspective–after spending thirty-three years on the planet earth, functioning completely in the human realm, learning the ways of friends and family, to find himself in heaven and then to return again–what would his expectations be like?

The answer to that question is fascinating.  Jesus doesn’t say that he’s going to be looking for purity, morality or even perfect, peaceful accord. He simply asks this question: will he find faith?

Because when people lose the capacity to dream and believe deep in their hearts that pursuing those visions is worthwhile, they become vacant of anything that makes them interesting. We’re just not very intriguing when we go through the motions of life, insisting that there’s “nothing more.” My real problem with atheism is that is places the entire responsibility for excitement and potential on ME.  I know ME well enough to know that I am not sufficient for the task. I am aware of my talent base, so I certainly am acquainted with my lacking–and quite honestly, if I can’t get it done, I have absolutely no confidence in your ability to pull it off either.

I think it would be very difficult to be an optimistic atheist.  And the lack of optimism–to be devoid of the energy produced by thinking that things can become better–would cause a great loss of luster in your persona, and also would end up being rather unpleasant for other human beings.

For faith is not an abstract.  It’s not just a definition. No, it is a way of breathing. It is a sense of good cheer that contends that we are on a journey instead of trapped in a closed bus terminal.  It causes us to reason instead of merely acquire knowledge. It makes us move towards newness instead of acting out repetition. We are wondering instead of merely acknowledging. We are creating instead of just consuming. We are allowing ourselves an enthusiasm over the morning’s light instead of dreading the day.

Faith is the pursuit of what I don’t have–not needing to possess a minute-by-minute plan, but rather, having an abiding confidence that all things will work together for the good. So what is being robbed from our generation? Faith. We have no faith in the government. We have no faith in our society. We have no faith in our community leaders. We have no faith in our churches. We have no faith in ourselves. We have no faith in others. We see no need for a God.

Atheism and agnosticism always gain greater impetus and popularity during those times when people have forgotten what it’s like to dream.

When the son of man returns to earth, will he find faith?  Will he find people who still believe in human beings because they acknowledge there is a divine seed of the image of God in each and every one? Or will he come across cynical folks who are overwhelmed with information, which tends to make them more reluctant to move forward and less likely to believe?

I want to do my part.  To do my part, I honor three eternal truths of everlasting spirituality: 1. Never grow up–be a child.  2. Never underestimate human beings.  3. Where the spirit of God is, there is liberty.

Those three things keep me on a path moving towards glory instead of mocking the possibility of improvement.

When the son of man returns, will he find faith?

I’m working on it.

***************

Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

 

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