Invisible … August 11, 2012

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Don’t go bad-mouthin’ the tooth fairy. If there was actually some flying creature sticking dollar bills under my pillow while I slumbered in exchange for decayed enamel, I would defend the right of that being to be revered against all comers. Matter of fact, I’d be tempted to grab a pair of pliers and increase my wealth.

The problem with the tooth fairy is that its existence is dependent upon the good will of mommies and daddies, who keep the concept alive. But remember, it is why the idea still lives. The tooth fairy would not last more than twenty-four hours if we just believed in it and no parent ever took a dollar out of his or her wallet to justify and affirm the faith.

Likewise with Santa Claus. He is not going to leave the picture of humanity very soon. It is not because he’s building extensions on his North Pole complex to guarantee his position for generations to come. It’s because those who believe in what he stands for perform his duties for him in his absence.

Tomorrow morning, all over the world, churches will meet and talk about faith, hope and love. They will scratch their heads as they count the number in attendance and realize that it is shrinking. They will wonder why the younger folks are beginning to abandon a commitment to God–those same younger folks who continue to promote the tooth fairy and Santa Claus. It’s because God is not as well promoted as these two fantasy creatures. God, who certainly has more evidence through His creation, interaction, healing and general welfare of humanity, is actually believed in less than “Toothy” and the Claus.

Why? Because faith, hope and love are being passed along as ideals and goals rather than being backed up by actions. Faith has become a belief, hope is a fantasy dream, and love is normally presented as a romantic tizzy. We have given over the three greatest forces in the universe to speculation rather than providing adequate evidence.

This is why James so brilliantly states in his epistle, “Faith without works is dead, being alone.” And the writer in Proverbs tells us that hope which continually fails makes us emotionally and even mentally ill. And love, which is only viewed as interaction between the sexes, lasts about as long as the normal American marriage.

We deserve better.

When belief in God has the same intensity of follow-up that we see during the Yuletide in reinforcing Santa’s image with giving, singing carols and decorating, then we will see a rebirth in faith. Spoiler alert: after all, God, unlike Santa, is real. What He lacks are elves. What He is absent are the jubilant followers who will propagate the joy of the season and bring about good cheer.

Here is the truth of the matter–faith works. What I mean by that is that you can show me your faith without works, but I plan on showing you my faith with works so that my belief will not just be a personal triumph in the quietness of my soul, but rather, a victory to those around me who “see my good works and glorify the Father in heaven.” We can no longer mouth the words of the sacred without delivering the fruit on our tree.

Faith works. If it doesn’t, it’s dead on arrival.

Hope pursues. Jesus used the phrase, “endures to the end.” Hope is not a dream; it is not a fantasy. It is not a slogan. It is a premise of our faith that we decide to follow through to a conclusion. We’re willing to persevere through difficulty, cynicism and even a contrary spirit. It doesn’t matter. Hope does not work as long as it’s viewed in the ethereal and not changed into a workshop application. Hope is pursued.

And love–perhaps the most misinterpreted force in all the spectrum of the universe–cannot be limited to romance, or even romantic notions. Love agrees. You can really tell you’re in love when you walk around looking for reasons to be in agreement with those who have captured your heart. I can always tell when love has left the room because pickiness, grouchiness and a disagreeable attitude slither into the door, discouraging any semblance of passion. These monsters bring fear. We’re afraid that if we give out an agreeable nature from our heart, that we will not receive from others–so we withhold. We allow apprehension and suspicion to prevent us from being an agree-er. Love agrees. For it is the prayer of agreement that brings healing. It is two people agreeing at an altar that consecrates a marriage. And it is God and man agreeing for peace on earth that sets in motion the first fruits of tranquillity.

Love agrees. There would be no romance without agreement. There would be no sex without agreement. There would be no answered prayer without agreement. There would be no building constructed without the agreement of the architect and the construction worker. Love agrees.

As long as faith is a belief, it will suffer from those who are jaded against pursuing fairy tales. Faith works. And if the works aren’t there to reinforce it, it is dead.

Hope that is merely a fantasy or a dream eventually leaves us disheartened and emotionally distraught. Hope pursues. It hangs around for the meek to inherit the earth.

And love that is touted as a romantic notion is soon rendered insipid in the climate of infidelity. Love agrees. Love looks for a reason to come to terms with even its enemies on some form of sympathetic endeavor.

  • Faith works.
  • Hope pursues.
  • Love agrees.

Try to make that your new doctrine and see if your religion doesn’t become more realistic to those around you. Because when the world can actually see proof of your assertion, it is so much easier for them to launch out into the deep and cast their nets.

Faith, hope and love are not invisible. They are just well-hidden from those who only want to believe, pursue fantasy and think that romance is the only form of love.

 

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