Seeking faith in a troubled world
“O my God, how does it happen in this poor old world that thou art so great and yet nobody finds thee, that thou callest so loudly and yet nobody hears thee, that thou art so near and yet nobody feels thee, that thou givest thyself to everybody and yet nobody knows thy name?”
Hans Denck (1500-1527) was an early Anabaptist leader who professed that as denominations and as individuals we can live in community, loving our brothers and sisters in the midst of our disagreements.
I found his small prayer and have been thinking about it since our presidential election. We all have been bombarded by the media for many months and we all have discussed and have been disgusted by the behavior and mudslinging of the media and of the candidates.
As many of you are, I’m glad it’s over – no more commercials, negative ads, countdown clocks, so-called political analysts and newspaper columnists trading barbs over which political party can lead us into the future. As a minister, I have never been so distraught over an election because so many people are hurt and disillusioned. At the same time, my own faith struggles with the election process.
This is a genuinely good time to renew our faith and, if we have lost some of it, now is the time is to seek it. I realize that evil lurks in all the corners of the earth, and I feel its presence very strongly now, since for many at this time we are at our most vulnerable: many families are divided, many aren’t speaking to each other, and we read many stories of family holiday dinners being canceled because of political differences.
“O God, how is it that I lost sight of thee?” I needed to begin taking my prayer life to a higher level, so I continually read prayers and say prayers out loud. Rather than watch the news, I have listened to others pray and asked if I may join them in their prayers while inviting them to join me in mine. I meditated on scripture. Isaiah captures my heart, but the greatest place I found elevation was in “action” coming from “love.” So many stories in which Jesus Christ is the central character dealt with action and love. He healed the sick, he prayed over others, he led by example, he fed the hungry, he taught about the kingdom, he forgave all sin. I look for him today and every day.
Where is he? Christ is at the local food bank, Christ is giving away coats at a local church. Christ is at the volunteer fire house or medical center; he is the EMT saving a life. He is the police officer who is protecting us each day, he is at a senior facility comforting the elderly, he is teaching at the prison. Christ is driving people to medical appointments, visiting our veterans, preparing thanksgiving dinners for those who can’t afford it, or cooking for a large group at some community center or church. Christ is writing in the “Applause, Applause” column of The Express.
Yes, I feel the energy and the love of Christ working in us, in our homes, our families, our churches, our places of outreach. This is where we find our faith in a troubled world.
A hymn in the Episcopal hymnal is, “Faith of our Fathers living still.” The second and third lines read “Faith of our fathers! Faith and prayer shall win all nations unto thee.” “Faith of our Fathers! We will love both friend and foe in all our strife.”
In closing, we need look no farther to find faith faith in a troubled world. We just then need to look within ourselves and feel the light of Christ is burning in our hearts.
May Christ be with all of you each and every day.
Rev. Alexander Dyakiw is a deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Bellefonte.