"Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters,
You who have no money, buy and eat,
Come, buy milk and wine, without money and without cost...
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourself in abundance". Isaiah 55:1 & 2.
It's real interesting trying to do this for the first time...sitting in front of a blank page and pondering what would be good to say, where you start...how about that line from that song, or a scene from a show. There's a great deal to say in this world of ours, but I think I need to start as I mean to go on - finding ways and means by which I can share something of the wonder of the life that is ours because of something amazing - the goodness of God.
Every time you encounter friendship, or gaze upon beauty, or deeply sense awe, or glow through intimacy, you glimpse something of that gift, but it's a joy that is fully brought into focus through the marvel of faith.
Faith is not some slick, TV preachers gimmick or 'inner' new age fabrication. Real faith is a trust that recognizes the security of God's promises and deeds, made evident in Jesus Christ, which does not seek to add to or curtail that gift in any way, but confidently builds upon this literally life-changing reality.
Faith then, is all about God making right a race of people who have messed up big time - giving them new life through nothing but His mercy, reaching out to this world by His love.
Does that all sound straightforward enough - something you've heard a few times, no doubt, in books or sermons? So why start here?
We live at a time when faith has become stigmatized. Rationalists tell us it's unnecessary in our modernal age - a 'god' who made us and who determines life is as viable as the tooth fairy; and then there all kinds of 'believers' who want us to manufacture 'faith' from ourselves for ourselves - to make us (and sometimes them) healthier and wealthier, but genuine faith is a much deeper, disturbing thing.
The faith from God leads us to the edge of what we are - to know the pain, the anguish, the horror of being a rebel - and there it causes us to look beyond ourselves, beyond any thought of self-confidence, into the character and astounding works of God - our Creator, our Saviour. It allows us to step into the abyss of mystery and encounter that reality which is so deep, so real, that all of life becomes lived and understood from a view nurtured before the first star was born that insures all existence will encounter a glory that faith allows us to begin to understand.
Faith brings us to a point of intimacy with the One - Father, Son and Spirit, who once stood amidst the new order of creation and jointly made a creature to reflect His image. In that profound moment is the blueprint of the ages to come - God, working through His image-bearer in creation, to eternally express the wonder and glory of the relationship that exists within the Godhead.
That sounds like a pretty amazing place to start (and finish!), so let's pull up a chair, open a bottle of good wine and pass around the snacks, and let's share about that.
To end with a quote from a song - it really makes me wonder...