Saturday 23 March

18But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith.

19You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder.

It is such a shocking statement “Even the demons believe – and shudder.” Can James really mean that a being who is living completely contrary to the nature of goodness, light, truth, and beauty, can still believe in an accurate theological formulation about the nature of God?

Faith is more than just believing. It reaches beyond conceptual formulation. It is not just a series of improbable mental constructs that I convince myself are true because some external authority requires I align my ideas with their intellectual vision.

I can get all my theology right, have all my doctrinal ducks in a tidy row, and still be completely missing “faith.” Faith is not an intellectual transaction. It cannot be purchased from a textbook, or imparted through a sermon or a lecture.

“Faith” is more akin to “trust” than intellectual consent. To have faith is not so much to believe correct things as it is to enter into a heart transaction with the power of love. Faith is what my granddaughter has when she stands on the kitchen counter and leaps off into my arms.

To have “faith” is to surrender to that power of love and goodness that are my true nature. Intellect will never get me to this place. Thinking right things will never transform my life.

Richard Rohr says, “You can’t think your way into a new way of living; but you can live your way into a new way of thinking.” The living comes first. Living with trust  creates faith.

A child learns to walk by getting up, stumbling, and falling again and again. My heart grows in faith as I engage in the practice of making myself fragile to another and accept the inevitable wounds that always accompany the risk of love.