Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Minister’s Desk: Living with Hope
By Rev Peter

I am currently reading one of the best books I have read in a long time. It is called “Patience with God: The Story of Zacchaeus continuing in us” by the Czech theologian Tomas Halik. Halik presents an interesting thesis that the issue of atheism is an issue of impatience: impatience with a seemingly silent God. He asks:

“Are we to dread the age of secularism, atheism, and the ‘cooling of many people’s faith,’ or can we perceive it as a mysterious contribution of historical time to the Easter drama, to the silence of Holy Saturday, when on the surface nothing happens?”

Going on to describe his own spiritual journey Halik describes his experiences in Czechoslovakia:

I live through a period in my country’s fairly recent history when religion and the church were virtually eradicated from public life. State atheism, civitas terrena, the ‘secular city’ seemed to have triumphed. I first encountered a living church when I was at the threshold of adulthood. I sensed that ‘something was happening’ in some of the churches still, that they were not all simply museums, and that somewhere something still survived of the world of believers.

It was in this context that Halik encountered the God of Jesus and found faith and so from his experience he is able to speak with hope for us all who face difficult times as the church. He is not so concerned for the future of the church saying

Whenever I see a church in decline somewhere – in whatever sense – I do not despair. After all, I personally have lives through a great deal, and Christians in the course of the twentieth century saw and lived through much more than I have. I don’t shrink from the holes left in the church roof by some tempest or other. I recall that it was through those gaping holes that I first glimpsed God’s face.

These come as words of comfort to me as I consider some of the issues we face at Kairos. Issues that are far bigger than what is going on just our little congregation and the possibilities we may face a limited future in our current arrangement.

Halik’s book reminds us all we need to draw back and get a different perspective, to cease worrying about “our” church and find faith in God’s work in us, among us and around us. We still have so many resources available to us to engage in Christ’s ministry! We believe in God’s faithfulness that even from death new life can emerge! We can trust that whatever happens to our properties God’s plans are bigger than our personal desires. We can find hope that people can catch a glimpse of God even in ramshackle churches devoid of images and in people who still have something present in their memories or subconscious of the God who loves us and in of Jesus who call us by name.

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