Wednesday, December 26, 2018
I, Paul, thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:3-6
In my tradition, I was taught about the problem of backsliding, the deterioration of one’s faith by the retreat into former ways. But now, I believe the more common problem among Christians is stagnation, the reluctance to move forward, to advance, to mature in one’s faith. Where many are concerned about people abandoning the faith by the side of the road, I am more concerned about people imprisoning the faith in some time in the past.
Paul, speaking to a Church that was vibrant in the living faith, encourages them that they will continue to move forward, to advance, and to mature in the faith. He speaks of a living faith continually being formed by the spirit involved in human endeavor. He speaks of a living faith that has yet to reach its full maturity. He speaks of a living faith that is at no time chiseled into stone tablets but is still being written in the journals of the voyageurs to that future point in the fullness of Time when Christ does return.
No, according to Paul, salvation is not something that happened in some moment in the past, but is something forming as we continue to be faithful through time. Salvation first begins and then is ultimately fulfilled. A spiritual journey always contains its beginning and its ending and the pathway that leads from the former to the latter. Faith is in this way … something that is formed by our faithfulness through time.
The New Realm of God is not a transformation that once took place in the birth, teaching, death, and resurrection of Christ but rather is an ongoing process, an advancing Realm, a maturing understanding. To imprison our understanding in our former understandings is to mummify the living faith, to suffocate the Breath of God, to silence the Voice of the Lord, to turn Christ and the disciples into statuary.
And so, with Brother Paul, I say to you … I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz