5 Easter – Year A

Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-14

“Faith is not belief.  Belief is passive.  Faith is active.” – Edith Hamilton

                Jesus says that whatever we ask in his name he will do for us (John 14:13-14).  However, we all recall times when we have asked sincerely and have not received.  Jesus also says that if we believe in him we will do even greater things than he has done (John 14:12).  However, don’t we all feel like we have fallen short of doing the things Jesus has done in spite of our firm belief?  The key to these paradoxes is “belief.”  In this Gospel story one form or the other of this word is used six times.  (see Greek below)  But this kind of belief has nothing to do with wrapping our minds around unproved facts.  Nor does it have anything to do with blind faith as if we can just accept things without personal involvement because someone says so.  It is about being of one mind with Jesus.  It is about being in relationship.  If we have this kind of rapport we will ask for what is meant to be, and it will be done, rather than asking for what is not right or not meant to be.  If we are one with Jesus the things we do will be great even if they are not considered spectacular.  Do we ever realize how great the effects of our actions are?  Often we are never told by others how we have changed their lives.  But God knows.  We are called not to orthodoxy (right beliefs) but to orthopraxy (right action or practice.)

Greek

                The Greek word is unfortunately translated “belief.”  It is an undesirable translation because “belief” in modern usage carries the luggage of cognitive acceptance, intellectual acceptance in our minds or brains.  With that misunderstanding it sounds like Jesus is telling us to just accept what he is saying.  However, the Greek word which is sometimes translated “have faith” means to be in committed relationship.  It is very similar to the Old Testament concept of covenant with God.  To be in reciprocal kinship is different than simply “believing” God exists or even that Jesus is God.  This is not about creedal statements. 

Haiku

Request in his name

a rare rapport of being.

Greater yet things come.